Gadolinium Garnet transparent ceramics doped with Ce, ((Gd,Y,Ce)3(Ga,Al)5O12), for gamma-ray spectroscopy provide high density, high light yield, high energy resolution , high Z, mechanical robustness, and they are unreactive to air and water. Gadolinium garnet single crystals are costly to grow, due to their high melting points, and suffer from non-uniform light yield, due to Ce segregation. In contrast, transparent polycrystalline ceramic Garnets are never melted, and therefore are less costly to produce and provide the uniform light yield required to achieve high energy resolution with a scintillator.
GYGAG(Ce) transparent ceramics offer energy resolution as good as R(662 keV) = 3.5%, in a pixelated detector utilizing Silicon photodiode array readout. We have developed a modular handheld detector based on pixelated GYGAG(Ce) on a photodiode array, that offers directional detection for point source detection as well as gamma spectroscopy. Individual modules can be assembled into detectors ranging from pocket-size to large panels, for a range of applications.
Large GYGAG(Ce) transparent ceramics in the 2-5 in3 size range have been fabricated at LLNL. Instrumentation of these ceramics with Silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) and super bi-alkali PMTs has been explored and energy resolution as good as R(662 keV) = 5% has been obtained. Further improvements with SiPM readout will leverage their high quantum efficiency in the 500-650 nm range where GYGAG(Ce) emits, and implement electronics that minimize the effect of SiPM dark current and capacitance on the pulse height spectra.
This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. DOE by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344, and has been supported by the US Department of Homeland Security, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, under competitively awarded IAA HSHQDC-12-X-00149 under Contract No. DE-AC03-76SF00098. LLNL-ABS-724480.