Hexagonal boron nitride epitaxial layers as neutron detector materials

J. Li, R. Dahal, S. Majety, J. Y. Lin, H. X. Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Micro-strip metalsemiconductormetal detectors for thermal neutron sensing were fabricated from hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) epilayers synthesized by metal organic chemical vapor deposition. Experimental measurements indicated that the thermal neutron absorption coefficient and length of natural hBN epilayers are about 0.00361 μm-1 and 277 μm, respectively. A continuous irradiation with a thermal neutron beam generated an appreciable current response in hBN detectors, corresponding to an effective conversion efficiency approaching ∼80% for absorbed neutrons. Our results indicate that hBN semiconductors would enable the development of essentially ideal solid-state thermal neutron detectors in which both neutron capture and carrier collection are accomplished in the same hBN semiconductor. These solid-state detectors have the potential to replace 3He gas detectors, which faces the very serious issue of 3He gas shortage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-420
Number of pages4
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 21 2011


  • Epitaxial layers
  • MOCVD growth
  • Semiconducting hexagonal boron nitride
  • Solid-state neutron detectors


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