Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


First Advisor

Michael Nastasi

Date of this Version



Peterson, George G. “Electrical Characterization of Irradiated Semiconducting Amorphous Hydrogenated Boron Carbide.” University of Nebraska - Lincoln, 2017.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Engineering (Materials Engineering), Under the Supervision of Professor Michael Nastasi. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2017

Copyright (c) 2017 George Glenn Peterson


Semiconducting amorphous partially dehydrogenated boron carbide has been explored as a neutron voltaic for operation in radiation harsh environments, such as on deep space satellites/probes. A neutron voltaic device could also be used as a solid state neutron radiation detector to provide immediate alerts for radiation workers/students, as opposed to the passive dosimetry badges utilized today. Understanding how the irradiation environment effects the electrical properties of semiconducting amorphous partially dehydrogenated boron carbide is important to predicting the stability of these devices in operation. p-n heterojunction diodes were formed from the synthesis of semiconducting amorphous partially dehydrogenated boron carbide on silicon substrates through the use of plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). Many forms of structural and electrical measurements and analysis have been performed on the p-n heterojunction devices as a function of both He+ ion and neutron irradiation including: transmission electron microscopy (TEM), selected area electron diffraction (SAED), current versus voltage I(V), capacitance versus voltage C(V), conductance versus frequency G(f), and charge carrier lifetime (τ). In stark contrast to nearly all other electronic devices, the electrical performance of these p-n heterojunction diodes improved with irradiation. This is most likely the result of bond defect passivation and resolution of degraded icosahedral based carborane structures (icosahedral molecules missing a B, C, or H atom(s)).

Adviser: Michael Nastasi