• Taffelli, A.; Heyl, M.; Favaro, M.; Dirè, S.; Pancheri, L.; List-Kratochvil, E.J.W.; Quaranta, A.; Ligorio, G.: Demonstrating the high sensitivity of MoS2 monolayers in direct x-ray detectors. Optical Materials 11 (2023), p. 081101/1-6

Open Access Version

Two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) are demonstrated to be appealing semiconductors for optoelectronic applications, thanks to their remarkable properties in the ultraviolet-visible spectral range. Interestingly, TMDCs have not yet been characterized when exposed to x rays, although they would be ideal candidates for optoelectronic applications in this spectral range. They benefit from the high cross section of the constituent heavy atoms, while keeping the absorption very low, due to the ultrathin structure of the film. This encourages the development of photodetectors based on TMDCs for several applications dealing with x rays, such as radioprotection, medical treatments, and diagnosis. Given the atomic thickness of TMDCs, they can be expected to perform well at low dose measurements with minimal perturbation of the radiation beam, which is required for in vivo applications. In this paper, the use of TMDCs as active materials for direct x-ray detection is demonstrated, using a photodetector based on a MoS2 monolayer (1L-MoS2). The detector shows a response to x rays in the range of 101–102 keV, at dose rates as low as fractions of mGy/s. The sensitivity of 1L-MoS2 reaches values in the range of 108–109 µC Gy−1 cm−3, overcoming the values reported for most of the organic and inorganic materials. To improve the x-ray photoresponse even further, the 1L-MoS2 was coupled with a polymeric film integrating a scintillator based on terbium-doped gadolinium oxysulfide (Gd2O2S:Tb). The resulting signal was three times larger, enabled by the indirect x ray to visible photoconversion mechanism. This paper might pave the way toward the production of ultrathin real-time dosimeters for in vivo applications.