Dr Issy Braddock
Academic and research departmentsDepartment of Physics, Radiation and Medical Physics Group.
My research project
While there is great demand for effective, affordable radiation detectors in various applications, many commonly used scintillators have major drawbacks. Conventional inorganic scintillators have a fixed emission wavelength and require expensive, high-temperature synthesis; plastic scintillators, while fast, inexpensive, and robust, have low atomic numbers, limiting their X-ray stopping power. Formamidinium lead halide perovskite nanocrystals show promise as scintillators due to their high X-ray attenuation coefficient and bright luminescence. Here, we used a room-temperature, solution-growth method to produce mixed-halide FAPbX(3) (X = Cl, Br) nanocrystals with emission wavelengths that can be varied between 403 and 531 nm via adjustments to the halide ratio. The substitution of bromine for increasing amounts of chlorine resulted in violet emission with faster lifetimes, while larger proportions of bromine resulted in green emission with increased luminescence intensity. By loading FAPbBr(3) nanocrystals into a PVT-based plastic scintillator matrix, we produced 1 mm-thick nanocomposite scintillators, which have brighter luminescence than the PVT-based plastic scintillator alone. While nanocomposites such as these are often opaque due to optical scattering from aggregates of the nanoparticles, we used a surface modification technique to improve transmission through the composites. A composite of FAPbBr(3) nanocrystals encapsulated in inert PMMA produced even stronger luminescence, with intensity 3.8 x greater than a comparative FAPbBr(3)/plastic scintillator composite. However, the luminescence decay time of the FAPbBr(3)/PMMA composite was more than 3 x slower than that of the FAPbBr(3)/plastic scintillator composite. We also demonstrate the potential of these lead halide perovskite nanocomposite scintillators for low-cost X-ray imaging applications.