Enhanced Gamma Ray Sensitivity in Bismuth Triiodide Sensors through Volumetric Defect Control
Some of the more attractive semiconducting compounds for ambient temperature radiation detector applications are impacted by low charge collection efficiency due to the presence of point and volumetric defects. This has been particularly true in the case of BiI3, which features very attractive properties (density, atomic number, band gap, etc.) to serve as a gamma ray detector, but has yet to demonstrate its full potential. We show that by applying growth techniques tailored to reduce defects, the spectral performance of this promising semiconductor can be realized. Gamma ray spectra from >100 keV source emissions are now obtained from high quality Sb:BiI3 bulk crystals with limited concentrations of defects (point and extended). The spectra acquired in these high quality crystals feature photopeaks with resolution of 2.2% at 662 keV. Infrared microscopy is used to compare the local microstructure between radiation sensitive and non-responsive crystals. This work demonstrates that BiI3 can be prepared in melt-grown detector-grade samples with superior quality and can acquire the spectra from a variety of gamma ray sources.