Hybrid halide perovskite neutron detectors

Sci Rep. 2021 Aug 30;11(1):17159. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-95586-3.


Interest in fast and easy detection of high-energy radiation (x-, γ-rays and neutrons) is closely related to numerous practical applications ranging from biomedicine and industry to homeland security issues. In this regard, crystals of hybrid halide perovskite have proven to be excellent detectors of x- and γ-rays, offering exceptionally high sensitivities in parallel to the ease of design and handling. Here, we demonstrate that by assembling a methylammonium lead tri-bromide perovskite single crystal (CH3NH3PbBr3 SC) with a Gadolinium (Gd) foil, one can very efficiently detect a flux of thermal neutrons. The neutrons absorbed by the Gd foil turn into γ-rays, which photo-generate charge carriers in the CH3NH3PbBr3 SC. The induced photo-carriers contribute to the electric current, which can easily be measured, providing information on the radiation intensity of thermal neutrons. The dependence on the beam size, bias voltage and the converting distance is investigated. To ensure stable and efficient charge extraction, the perovskite SCs were equipped with carbon electrodes. Furthermore, other types of conversion layers were also tested, including borated polyethylene sheets as well as Gd grains and Gd2O3 pellets directly engulfed into the SCs. Monte Carlo N-Particle (MCNP) radiation transport code calculations quantitatively confirmed the detection mechanism herein proposed.