The decay of the majority of radioactive isotopes involves the emission of gamma (γ) photons with energies of ∼50 keV to 10 MeV. Detectors of such hard radiation that are low-cost, highly sensitive and operate at ambient temperatures are desired for numerous applications in defence and medicine, as well as in research1,2. We demonstrate that 0.3–1 cm solution-grown single crystals (SCs) of semiconducting hybrid lead halide perovskites (MAPbI3, FAPbI3 and I-treated MAPbBr3, where MA = methylammonium and FA = formamidinium) can serve as solid-state gamma-detecting materials. This possibility arises from a high charge-carrier mobility–lifetime (μτ) product of 1.0–1.8 × 10−2 cm2 V−1, a low dark carrier density of 109–1011cm−3 (refs 3,4), a low density of charge traps of 109–1010 cm−3 (refs 4,5) and a high absorptivity of hard radiation by the lead and iodine atoms. We demonstrate the utility of perovskite detectors for testing the radiopurity of medical radiotracer compounds such as 18F-fallypride. Energy-resolved sensing at room temperature is presented using FAPbI3 SCs and an 241Am source.
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M.V.K. acknowledges financial support from the European Union through the FP7 (ERC Starting Grant NANOSOLID, GA No. 306733). We are indebted to S. Ametamey, B. Mancosu and S. Boss of the Center for Radiopharmaceutical Sciences of ETH for providing access to the radiochemistry laboratory and technical assistance, M. Badertscher for providing radioactive sources, M. Wörle for assistance with X-ray sources, and N. Stadie for reading the manuscript.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Yakunin, S., Dirin, D., Shynkarenko, Y. et al. Detection of gamma photons using solution-grown single crystals of hybrid lead halide perovskites. Nature Photon 10, 585–589 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2016.139
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