Ionic Conduction-Based Polycrystalline Oxide Gamma Ray Detection – Radiation-Ionic Effects

Thomas Defferriere, Ahmed Sami Helal, Ju Li, Jennifer L.M. Rupp, Harry L. Tuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Newly discovered opto-ionic effects in metal oxides provide unique opportunities for functional ceramic applications. The authors generalize the recently demonstrated grain boundary opto-ionic effect observed in solid electrolyte thin films under ultraviolet (UV) irradiation to a radiation-ionic effect that can be applied to bulk materials and used for gamma-rays (γ-rays) detection. Near room temperature, lightly doped Gd-doped CeO2, a polycrystalline ion conducting ceramic, exhibits a resistance ratio change ≈103 and reversible response in ionic current when exposed to 60Co γ-ray (1.1 and 1.3 MeV). This is attributed to the steady state passivation of space charge barriers at grain boundaries, that act as virtual electrodes, capturing radiation-induced electrons, in turn lowering space charge barrier heights, and thereby exclusively modulating the ionic carrier flow within the ceramic electrolytes. Such behavior allows significant electrical response under low fields, that is, < 2 V cm−1, paving the way to inexpensive, sensitive, low-power, and miniaturizable solid-state devices, uniquely suited for operating in harsh (high temperature, pressure, and corrosive) environments. This discovery presents opportunities for portable and/or scalable radiation detectors benefiting geothermal drilling, small modular reactors, nuclear security, and waste management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2309253
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number24
StatePublished - 13 Jun 2024


  • electroceramics
  • polycrystalline
  • radiation detection
  • radiation-ionic
  • solid electrolytes


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