An unusual crystal growth method of the chalcohalide semiconductor, β-Hg3S2Cl2: A new candidate for hard radiation detection

Arief C. Wibowo, Christos D. Malliakas, Hao Li, Constantinos C. Stoumpos, Duck Young Chung, Bruce W. Wessels, Arthur J. Freeman, Mercouri G. Kanatzidis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We assess the mercury chalcohalide compound, β-Hg3S2Cl2, as a potential semiconductor material for X-ray and γ-ray detection. It has a high density (6.80 g/cm3) and wide band gap (2.56 eV) and crystallizes in the cubic Pm3n space group with a three-dimensional structure comprised of [Hg12S8] cubes with Cl atoms located within and between the cubes, featuring a trigonal pyramidal SHg3 as the main building block. First-principle electronic structure calculations at the density functional theory level predict that the compound has closely lying indirect and direct band gaps. We have successfully grown transparent, single crystals of β-Hg3S2Cl2 up to 7 mm diameter and 1 cm long using a new approach by the partial decomposition of the quaternary Hg3Bi2S2Cl8 compound followed by the formation of β-Hg3S2Cl2 and an impermeable top layer, all happening in situ during vertical Bridgman growth. The decomposition process was optimized by varying peak temperatures and temperature gradients using a 2 mm/h translation rate of the Bridgman technique. Formation of the quaternary Hg3Bi2S2Cl8 followed by its partial decomposition into β-Hg3S2Cl2 was confirmed by in situ temperature-dependent synchrotron powder diffraction studies. The single crystal samples obtained had resistivity of 1010 Ω·cm and mobility-lifetime products of electron and hole carriers of 1.4(4) × 10-4 cm2/V and 7.5(3) × 10-5 cm2/V, respectively. Further, an appreciable Ag X-ray photoconductivity response was observed showing the potential of β-Hg3S2Cl2 as a hard radiation detector material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2678-2684
Number of pages7
JournalCrystal Growth and Design
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 4 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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