Plastic scintillators are in wide use in radiation portal monitors because of their low cost and availability in large sizes. However, due to their low density and atomic number (Z), they offer low intrinsic efficiency and little to no spectroscopic information. The addition of high-Z constituents to these plastics can greatly increase both their total stopping power and the amount of photo-electric absorption, leading to full-energy deposition and thus spectroscopic information in plastics. In this work, we present the performance of the largest bismuth-loaded plastics to date, showing useful spectroscopic information up to relatively high energy (~1 MeV) and their high stopping power compared the current commercially available plastics. These Bi-loaded plastics are based on 20 wt% Bi-pivalate (8 wt% elemental Bi) dissolved in a polyvinytoluene (PVT) matrix and conventional fast fluors (<10 ns decay time). A comparison of performance between slab and cylindrical plastics of similar volumes is presented and large performance improvements (greater than 9 times the sensitivity to 241Am) are shown when used as a drop-in replacement to conventional PVT based portal monitors.
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 DOE, Office of NNSA, NA-22.LLNL-ABS-767130.
Inexpensive spectroscopic personal radiation detectors (SPRDs) are needed to monitor environmental radioactivity and search for sources. For gamma spectroscopy, excellent light yield, material uniformity, light yield proportionality, mechanical and environmental ruggedness can be achieved in polycrystalline ceramic oxide garnets. We are building a compact detector based on 14 cm3 of transparent ceramic garnet, formed into 256 pixels (3mm x 3mm x 6mm each) and mounted on two stacked silicon photodiode arrays. GYGAG(Ce) garnet transparent ceramics offer density = 5.8g/cm3, Zeff = 48, principal decay of <100 ns, and light yield of 50,000 Ph/MeV. We obtain R(662 keV) <4% for the full device, including Compton summing of coincident events in multiple pixels. In addition to excellent gamma spectroscopy, this device provides directional detection, via Compton imaging and active masking, for search applications.
This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. DOE by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344. We are grateful to Digirad for supporting our implementation of their photodiode array. Thanks to the US Department of Homeland Security, DNDO and CWMD offices, for funding under competitively awarded IAAs HSHQDC-12-X-00149 and HSHQDN-17-X-00016.
We have previously made improvements to the longevity of TlBr semiconductor gamma ray detectors by applying electrodes having the mixed semiconductor composition Tl(Cl,Br) via surface treatments in HCl, leading to a significant enhancement to the lifetime of the detectors. In order to examine the electron transport properties more closely, we have monitored the first-derivative of the cathode waveform (being proportional to velocity and number of carriers) as a function of time and the point of the gamma-interaction. The observed decay in this signal, especially at lower voltage, would naturally be interpreted as the usual trapping phenomenon. However, this phenomenon alone is not able to account for the observed waveforms, most dramatically for the case of increasing signal as the electrons approach the anode, for waveforms originating at the cathode. After detailed consideration of alternative explanations, the cathode waveform data has been interpreted in terms of a non-uniform field owing to variation in the resistivity as a function of position. We have interpreted the shape of the decay as a “built-in” resistivity profile and have further verified this interpretation by reversing the sense of the field (which as expected reverses the “sense” of the waveform). We modeled this effect in order to quantitatively deduce the resistivity profile and are currently working to relate the waveform observations to the relative orientation of the crystal growth direction and the applied electrodes.