Advances in controlling energy migration pathways in core-shell lanthanide (Ln)-based hetero-nanocrystals (HNCs) have relied heavily on assumptions about how optically active centers are distributed within individual HNCs. In this article, it is demonstrated that different types of interface patterns can be formed depending on shell growth conditions. Such interface patterns are not only identified but also characterized with spatial resolution ranging from the nanometer- to the atomic-scale. In the most favorable cases, atomic-scale resolved maps of individual particles are obtained. It is also demonstrated that, for the same type of core-shell architecture, the interface pattern can be engineered with thicknesses of just 1 nm up to several tens of nanometers. Total alloying between the core and shell domains is also possible when using ultra-small particles as seeds. Finally, with different types of interface patterns (same architecture and chemical composition of the core and shell domains) it is possible to modify the output color (yellow, red, and green-yellow) or change (improvement or degradation) the absolute upconversion quantum yield. ... mehrThe results presented in this article introduce an important paradigm shift and pave the way toward the emergence of a new generation of core-shell Ln-based HNCs with better control over their atomic-scale organization.