A method for synthesizing I-III-VI.sub.2 compounds, including: melting a Group III element; adding a Group I element to the melted Group III element at a rate that allows the Group I and Group III elements to react thereby providing a single phase I-III compound; and adding a Group VI element to the single phase I-III compound under heat, with mixing, and/or via vapor transport. The Group III element is melted at a temperature of between about 200 degrees C. and about 700 degrees C. Preferably, the Group I element consists of a neutron absorber and the group III element consists of In or Ga. The Group VI element and the single phase I-III compound are heated to a temperature of between about 700 degrees C. and about 1000 degrees C. Preferably, the Group VI element consists of S, Se, or Te. Optionally, the method also includes doping with a Group IV element activator.
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