Bulk-Size Transparent Gadolinium Oxide-Polymer Nanocomposites for Gamma Ray Scintillation

Q. Chen, W. Cai, T. Hajagos, D. Kishpaugh, C. Liu, N. Cherepy, A. Dooraghi, A. Chatziioannou, S. Payne, Q. Pei
University of California, Los Angeles, US

Keywords: scintillation, gamma detection, nanocompositre

Summary:

Heavy element loaded polymer composites have long been proposed to detect high energy X- and -rays upon scintillation. The previously reported bulk composite scintillators have achieved limited success because of the diminished light output resulting from fluorescence quenching and opacity. We demonstrate the synthesis of a transparent nanocomposite comprising gadolinium oxide nanocrystals uniformly dispersed in bulk-size samples at high loading content. The strategy to avoid luminescence quenching and opacity in the nanocomposite was successfully deployed, which led to the radioluminescence light yield up to 27,000/MeV, about twice as much as standard commercial plastic scintillators. Nanocomposites with 31 wt.% loading of nanocrystals (14 mm diameter by 3 mm thickness) generated a photoelectric peak for Cs-137 gamma (662 keV) with 11.4% energy resolution.