Semiconductor quantum dots have attracted tremendous attention owing to their novel electrical and optical properties as a result of their size dependent quantum confinement effects. This provides the advantage of tunable wavelength detection, which is essential to realize spectrally selective photodetectors. We report on the fabrication and characterization of a high performance narrow band ultraviolet photodetector (UV-B) based on Indium oxide (In2O3) nanocrystals embedded in aluminium oxide (Al2O3) matrices. The In2O3 nanocrystals are synthesized in an Al2O3 matrix by sequential implantation of In+ and ions and post-implantation annealing. The photodetector exhibits excellent optoelectronic performances with high spectral responsivity and external quantum efficiency. The spectral response shows a band-selective nature with a full width half maximum of ∼60 nm, and a responsivity reaching up to 70 A W-1 under 290 nm at 5 V bias. The corresponding rejection ratio to visible region was as high as 8400. The high performance of this photodetector makes it highly suitable for practical applications such as narrow-band spectrum-selective photodetectors. The device design based on ion-synthesized nanocrystals could provide a new approach for realizing a visible-blind photodetector. © 2018 IOP Publishing Ltd.