The Chemistry of High Efficiency Perovskite Nanoparticle X-ray Detectors

X-ray detectors are revolutionising technology for medical imaging and airport scanning. This project will synthesise metal halide lead perovskite nanoparticles for radiation sensor applications. 

Start date
1 October 2021
3 years
Application deadline
Funding source
The University of Surrey, Project-led Studentship Award.
Funding information

The funding for this studentship is as follows:   

  • Full UK/EU tuition fee covered 
  • Stipend at £15,285 p.a. (2020/21)   
  • Research Training grant of £1,000 p.a. 


In this proposal we target metal halide perovskite nanoparticles, which offer a uniquely high light yield from X-rays, compared to traditional scintillating materials. These nanocrystals exhibit strong X-ray absorption and intense radioluminescence at visible wavelengths. Unlike bulk inorganic scintillators, these perovskite nanomaterials are solution processable at relatively low temperatures and can generate X-ray induced optical emission that is easily tuneable across the visible spectrum by varying the material stoichiometry.    

In this proposal we focus research on the underpinning materials chemistry of metal halide perovskite nanoparticles. Carol Crean and Paul Sellin have been collaborating on perovskite radiation detectors, supported by a US-funded research project from the Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). The focus of the DTRA work has been to develop prototype radiation sensors using a combination of commercial perovskite nanoparticles and material synthesised in the Chemistry Department. This project has shown that there is a clear need to strengthen the in-house capability at Surrey to synthesise a wide range of metal halide perovskite nanoparticles, which is required to increase Surrey’s capability in this area. Therefore, this proposal requests a collaborative PhD student between Chemistry and Physics, who will be jointly supervised by both applicants. The focus of the research will be to develop new synthesis methods for metal halide perovskite nanoparticles for use as scintillation-based radiation detectors, with the following key objectives: 

  • Improved synthesis methods for metal halide perovskite nanoparticle, to increase synthesis yield and to improve the quality of nanoparticles. 
  • Synthesis of smaller nanoparticles with mean radii less than ten nanometres, thus increasing the light yield due to enhanced quantum confinement techniques. 
  • Studies of nanoparticle stability, using appropriate chemical ligands and surface treatments. 
  • Synthesis of alternative lead-free perovskite materials, for example using bismuth atoms. This will address future commercial requirements for lead-free sensor technologies.
Related links
University of Surrey awarded $1.1M research grant by US agency to bolster nucle…

Q. Chen et al “All-inorganic perovskite nanocrystal scintillators”, Nature 561 (2018) 88–93. 

Eligibility criteria

Applicants are expected to hold a degree at a minimum of 2.1 or above in Chemistry BSc or MChem.

This studentship is only available to UK students.

IELTS requirements: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category. 


How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Chemistry PhD programme page.

Enquiries can be sent to Dr Carol Crean at  

Application deadline

Contact details

Carol Crean
30 AZ 03
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686640

Studentships at Surrey

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