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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


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
Pages (from-to)2678-2684
Number of pages7
JournalCrystal Growth and Design
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 4 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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