skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

This content will become publicly available on January 1, 2021

Title: Direct thermal neutron detection by the 2D semiconductor 6LiInP 2Se 6

Abstract

Highly efficient neutron detectors are critical in many sectors, including national security, medicine, crystallography and astronomy. The main neutron detection technologies currently used involve 3He-gas-filled proportional counters and light scintillators for thermalized neutrons. Semiconductors could provide the next generation of neutron detectors because their advantages could make them competitive with or superior to existing detectors. In particular, solids with a high concentration of high-neutron-capture nuclides (such as 6Li, 10B) could be used to develop smaller detectors with high intrinsic efficiencies. However, no promising materials have been reported so far for the construction of direct-conversion semiconductor detectors. Here we report on the semiconductor LiInP 2Se 6 and demonstrate its potential as a candidate material for the direct detection of thermal neutrons at room temperature. This compound has a good thermal-neutron-capture cross-section, a suitable bandgap (2.06 electronvolts) and a favourable electronic band structure for efficient electron charge transport. We used α particles from an 241Am source as a proxy for the neutron-capture reaction and determined that the compact two-dimensional (2D) LiInP 2Se 6 detectors resolved the full-energy peak with an energy resolution of 13.9 per cent. Direct neutron detection from a moderated Pu–Be source was achieved using 6Li-enriched (95 per cent) LiInPmore » 2Se 6 detectors with full-peak resolution. Here, we anticipate that these results will spark interest in this field and enable the replacement of 3He counters by semiconductor-based neutron detectors.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [2];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [1];  [3]
  1. Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (United States)
  2. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
  3. Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (United States); Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); National Science Foundation (NSF)
OSTI Identifier:
1599041
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-06CH11357; ECCS-1542205; DMR-1720139; NCI CA060553
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature (London)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Nature (London); Journal Volume: 577; Journal Issue: 7790; Journal ID: ISSN 0028-0836
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE

Citation Formats

Chica, Daniel G., He, Yihui, McCall, Kyle M., Chung, Duck Young, Pak, Rahmi O., Trimarchi, Giancarlo, Liu, Zhifu, De Lurgio, Patrick M., Wessels, Bruce W., and Kanatzidis, Mercouri G. Direct thermal neutron detection by the 2D semiconductor 6LiInP2Se6. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1886-8.
Chica, Daniel G., He, Yihui, McCall, Kyle M., Chung, Duck Young, Pak, Rahmi O., Trimarchi, Giancarlo, Liu, Zhifu, De Lurgio, Patrick M., Wessels, Bruce W., & Kanatzidis, Mercouri G. Direct thermal neutron detection by the 2D semiconductor 6LiInP2Se6. United States. doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1886-8.
Chica, Daniel G., He, Yihui, McCall, Kyle M., Chung, Duck Young, Pak, Rahmi O., Trimarchi, Giancarlo, Liu, Zhifu, De Lurgio, Patrick M., Wessels, Bruce W., and Kanatzidis, Mercouri G. Wed . "Direct thermal neutron detection by the 2D semiconductor 6LiInP2Se6". United States. doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1886-8.
@article{osti_1599041,
title = {Direct thermal neutron detection by the 2D semiconductor 6LiInP2Se6},
author = {Chica, Daniel G. and He, Yihui and McCall, Kyle M. and Chung, Duck Young and Pak, Rahmi O. and Trimarchi, Giancarlo and Liu, Zhifu and De Lurgio, Patrick M. and Wessels, Bruce W. and Kanatzidis, Mercouri G.},
abstractNote = {Highly efficient neutron detectors are critical in many sectors, including national security, medicine, crystallography and astronomy. The main neutron detection technologies currently used involve 3He-gas-filled proportional counters and light scintillators for thermalized neutrons. Semiconductors could provide the next generation of neutron detectors because their advantages could make them competitive with or superior to existing detectors. In particular, solids with a high concentration of high-neutron-capture nuclides (such as 6Li, 10B) could be used to develop smaller detectors with high intrinsic efficiencies. However, no promising materials have been reported so far for the construction of direct-conversion semiconductor detectors. Here we report on the semiconductor LiInP2Se6 and demonstrate its potential as a candidate material for the direct detection of thermal neutrons at room temperature. This compound has a good thermal-neutron-capture cross-section, a suitable bandgap (2.06 electronvolts) and a favourable electronic band structure for efficient electron charge transport. We used α particles from an 241Am source as a proxy for the neutron-capture reaction and determined that the compact two-dimensional (2D) LiInP2Se6 detectors resolved the full-energy peak with an energy resolution of 13.9 per cent. Direct neutron detection from a moderated Pu–Be source was achieved using 6Li-enriched (95 per cent) LiInP2Se6 detectors with full-peak resolution. Here, we anticipate that these results will spark interest in this field and enable the replacement of 3He counters by semiconductor-based neutron detectors.},
doi = {10.1038/s41586-019-1886-8},
journal = {Nature (London)},
number = 7790,
volume = 577,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {1}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
This content will become publicly available on January 1, 2021
Publisher's Version of Record

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

The physics of solid-state neutron detector materials and geometries
journal, October 2010


High-efficiency and high-sensitivity thermal neutron detectors based on hexagonal BN epilayers
conference, September 2017

  • Grenadier, Sam; Li, Jing; Lin, Jingyu
  • Hard X-Ray, Gamma-Ray, and Neutron Detector Physics XIX
  • DOI: 10.1117/12.2271556

Design and performance considerations for perforated semiconductor thermal-neutron detectors
journal, July 2009

  • Shultis, J. K.; McGregor, D. S.
  • Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, Vol. 606, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2009.02.033

Compound semiconductor radiation detectors
journal, September 2004

  • Owens, Alan; Peacock, A.
  • Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, Vol. 531, Issue 1-2
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2004.05.071

Stacked CdTe gamma-ray detector and its application to a range finder
journal, June 2003

  • Watanabe, Shin; Takahashi, Tadayuki; Nakazawa, Kazuhiro
  • Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, Vol. 505, Issue 1-2
  • DOI: 10.1016/S0168-9002(03)01032-5

Securing special nuclear material: Recent advances in neutron detection and their role in nonproliferation
journal, December 2010

  • Runkle, R. C.; Bernstein, A.; Vanier, P. E.
  • Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 108, Issue 11, Article No. 111101
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.3503495

Stoichiometric Effects on the Photoelectric Properties of LiInSe 2 Crystals for Neutron Detection
journal, March 2018


Crystal structure refinement with SHELXL
journal, January 2015

  • Sheldrick, George M.
  • Acta Crystallographica Section C Structural Chemistry, Vol. 71, Issue 1, p. 3-8
  • DOI: 10.1107/S2053229614024218

Chemical accuracy for the van der Waals density functional
journal, December 2009

  • Klimeš, Jiří; Bowler, David R.; Michaelides, Angelos
  • Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, Vol. 22, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1088/0953-8984/22/2/022201

VESTA 3 for three-dimensional visualization of crystal, volumetric and morphology data
journal, October 2011


Excitation-power dependence of the near-band-edge photoluminescence of semiconductors
journal, April 1992


Present Status of the Microstructured Semiconductor Neutron Detector-Based Direct Helium-3 Replacement
journal, July 2017

  • Ochs, Taylor R.; Bellinger, Steven L.; Fronk, Ryan. G.
  • IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, Vol. 64, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1109/TNS.2017.2653719

Metamagnetic Transition in EuSe 2 :  A New, Metastable Binary Rare-Earth Polychalcogenide
journal, December 1998

  • Aitken, Jennifer A.; Cowen, Jerry A.; Kanatzidis, Mercouri G.
  • Chemistry of Materials, Vol. 10, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.1021/cm980364e

OLEX2 : a complete structure solution, refinement and analysis program
journal, January 2009

  • Dolomanov, Oleg V.; Bourhis, Luc J.; Gildea, Richard J.
  • Journal of Applied Crystallography, Vol. 42, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1107/S0021889808042726

Semiconducting lithium indium diselenide: Charge-carrier properties and the impacts of high flux thermal neutron irradiation
journal, June 2018

  • Hamm, Daniel S.; Rust, Mikah; Herrera, Elan H.
  • Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 112, Issue 24
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.5028269

High-throughput electronic band structure calculations: Challenges and tools
journal, August 2010


The Diffraction of Neutrons by Crystalline Powders
journal, April 1948


Interaction of Neutrons with Matter
journal, August 1935


SHELXT – Integrated space-group and crystal-structure determination
journal, January 2015

  • Sheldrick, George M.
  • Acta Crystallographica Section A Foundations and Advances, Vol. 71, Issue 1, p. 3-8
  • DOI: 10.1107/S2053273314026370

Lithium containing chalcogenide single crystals for neutron detection
journal, May 2014


Quaternary selenodiphosphates(IV): MIMIII[P2Se6], (MI =Cu, Ag; MIII = Cr, Al, Ga, In)
journal, July 1992


X-ray spectroscopy and charge transport properties of CdZnTe grown by the vertical Bridgman method
journal, June 2007

  • Veale, M. C.; Sellin, P. J.; Lohstroh, A.
  • Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, Vol. 576, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2007.01.127

Monitoring Short-Term Cosmic-Ray Spectral Variations Using Neutron Monitor Time-Delay Measurements
journal, January 2016


Strong Electron–Phonon Coupling and Self-Trapped Excitons in the Defect Halide Perovskites A 3 M 2 I 9 (A = Cs, Rb; M = Bi, Sb)
journal, April 2017


Boron Neutron Capture Therapy of Cancer: Current Status and Future Prospects
journal, June 2005


Python Materials Genomics (pymatgen): A robust, open-source python library for materials analysis
journal, February 2013


Transparent lithium loaded plastic scintillators for thermal neutron detection
journal, February 2013

  • Breukers, R. D.; Bartle, C. M.; Edgar, A.
  • Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment, Vol. 701, p. 58-61
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2012.10.080