Abstract We investigated the X-ray detection capability of a fabricated Pt/ZnO diode using a high-resistivity ZnO single crystal grown by the hydrothermal method. The X-ray sensor consists of a Pt electrode on the Zn-face, an Au/Ti electrode on the O-face and a (0 0 0 1) ZnO substrate with high resistivity. The fabricated X-ray sensor showed ohmic-like characteristics in the measurement of current-applied voltage characteristics. We attributed these ohmic characteristics to degradation of the surface quality of the ZnO substrate caused by handling damage that occurred when carrying out a series of electrical and optical ZnO characterizations. The fabricated X-ray sensor at a bias of 20 V responded to X-rays in current-mode measurement. The sensor current increased linearly with X-ray tube current at 60 keV, and the results showed that sensitivity was approximately 1.5 μC/Gy. We demonstrated that a ZnO single crystal has potential for the development of an X-ray detector.