In this study, structural and luminescence properties of magnesium borate of the form MgB4O7 doped with Tm and Na were investigated by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman spectroscopy and cathodoluminescence (CL). The morphologies of the synthetised compounds exhibit clustered granules and road-like materials. As doping trivalent ions into a host with divalent cations requires charge compensation, this effect is discussed. The CL spectra of undoped MgB4O7 shows a broad band emission centred around 350 nm which is postulated to be produced by self-trapped excitons and some other defects. From the CL emission spectrum, main emission bands centred at 360, 455, 475 nm due to the respective transitions of D-1(2)-> H-3(6),D-1(2)-> F-3(4) and (1)G(4)-> H-3(6) suggest the presence of Tm3+ ion in MgB4O7 lattice site. CL mechanism was proposed to explain the observed phenomena which are valuable in possibility of the developing new luminescent materials for different applications. In addition, the experimental Raman spectrum of doped and undoped MgB4O7 were reported and discussed. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.