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With the global shortage of 3He gas, researchers worldwide are looking for alternative materials for detectingneutrons. Among the candidate materials, semiconductors are attractive because of their light weight and ease in handling. Currently, we are looking into the suitability of boron arsenide (BAs) for this specific application. As the first step in evaluating the material qualitatively, the photo-response of BAsbulk crystals to light with different wavelengths was examined. The crystals showed photocurrent response to a band of 407- and 470- nm blue light. The maximum measured photoresponsivity and the photocurrent density at 0.7 V for 470 nm blue light at room temperature were 0.25 A ⋅ W−1 and 2.47 mA ⋅ cm−2, respectively. In addition to photo current measurements, the electrical properties as a function of temperature (range: 50-320 K) were measured. Reliable data were obtained for the low-temperature I-V characteristics, the temperature dependence of dark current and its density, and the resistivity variations with temperature in BAsbulk crystals. The experiments showed an exponential dependence on temperature for the dark current,current density, and resistivity; these three electrical parameters, respectively, had a variation of a few nA to μA, 1-100 μA ⋅ cm−2 and 7.6x105-7.7x103 Ω ⋅ cm, for temperature increasing from 50 K to 320 K. The results from this study reported the first photoresponse and demonstrated that BAs is a potential candidate for thermal-neutron detectors.


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