A New Ceramic Scintillator for Neutron Detection
75745S The utilization of high neutron fluxes (such as at new DOE Spallation Neutron Source, SNS, which is used for materials science studies) is often limited by detection systems, particularly scintillators. For example, the widely-used ZnS:Ag/LiF phosphor, although very bright, is slow and opaque to its own light, forcing the use of thin layers and compromising detection efficiency. This project will develop a novel neutron scintillator based on a CaF2:Eu/LiF ceramic. This material, which is transparent to its own light, will allow the use of thicker layers, improving detection efficiency and pulse height discrimination. Since its emission it twice as fast as ZnS:Ag, with no long-term afterglow, it will also permit higher counting rates. Phase I that the material could be manufactured as a transparent ceramic and demonstrated that samples of this material can detect neutron particles. The basic properties of the material also were investigated. Phase II will optimize the fabrication of this material using hot press and pressureless sintering methods. Material properties as a function of its composition will be determined and the material will be optimized for different applications. Finally, the material will be evaluated for SNS instrumentation. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The new material should find application in the Spallation Neutron Source ¿ in the approximately 15 neutron scattering instruments that use scintillators for neutron detection. It also should expand the choices for neutron scintillators.
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