Highly sensitive X-ray detector made of layered perovskite-like (NH4)3Bi2I9 single crystal with anisotropic response


The effective detection of X-ray radiation with low threshold is essential to many medical and industrial applications. Three-dimensional (3D) organolead trihalide and double perovskites have been shown to be suitable for direct X-ray detection. However, the sensitivity and stability of 3D perovskite X-ray detectors are limited by ion motion, and there remains a demand to develop green and stable X-ray detectors with high sensitivity and low detection limit. The emerging low-dimensional perovskites have shown promising optoelectronic properties, featuring good intrinsic stability and reduced ion migration. Inspired by this, we show that our 2D layered perovskite-like (NH4)3Bi2I9 device provides unique anisotropic X-ray detecting performance with different crystal directions, effective suppression of ion migration and a low detection limit of 55 nGyair s−1. These results will motivate new strategies to achieve a high-performance X-ray detector by utilizing 2D layered perovskite or perovskite-like materials, without requiring toxic elements.

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Fig. 1: Preparation and characterization of the (NH4)3Bi2I9 single crystal.
Fig. 2: Optoelectronic properties of the (NH4)3Bi2I9 single crystal.
Fig. 3: X-ray absorption, charge collection and temperature-dependent conductivity of the (NH4)3Bi2I9 single crystal.
Fig. 4: X-ray detection performance of (NH4)3Bi2I9 single-crystal devices.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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The authors thank X. Hua and C. Wolverton at Northwestern University for their insightful discussions on the band structure of the perovskite-like materials, and also L. Bai and Y. Su in Zhejiang University for their assistance with material preparations. The authors acknowledge financial support from the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2017YFA0207700), the National Basic Research Program of China (973Program, 2015CB352003), the Outstanding Youth Fund of Zhejiang Natural Science Foundation of China (LR18F050001), the Natural Science Foundation of China (61804134) and the Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province (2017J01766).

Author information

Y.(M.)Y. conceived the idea and supervised the project. Y.(M.)Y. and R.Z. designed the experiments. R.Z. carried out material preparation, characterizations and device fabrication. X.W., W.M. and Y.(M.)Y. set up the measurement facilities for the X-ray detector and photodetector. X.W., W.M. and R.Z. carried out the detector performance characterizations. Y.W., X.C. and L.T. measured the n and k of the crystal. H.Z., L.W. and W.Z. measured the steady-state photoluminescence and transient photoluminescence. J.L. conducted the XRD measurements. R.Z. wrote the first draft of the manuscript, Y.(M.)Y. revised the manuscript with comments from X.L. and all other authors.

Correspondence to Yang (Michael) Yang.

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Supplementary Figs. 1–10, Supplementary Tables 1–2 and Supplementary references 1–4.

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Zhuang, R., Wang, X., Ma, W. et al. Highly sensitive X-ray detector made of layered perovskite-like (NH4)3Bi2I9 single crystal with anisotropic response. Nat. Photonics 13, 602–608 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-019-0466-7

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