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New scintillators for high-resolution gamma ray spectroscopy have been identified, grown and characterized. Our development efforts have focused on two classes of high-light-yield materials: europium-doped alkaline earth halides and cerium-doped garnets. Of the halide single crystals we have grown by the Bridgman method-SrI2, CaI2, SrBr2, BaI2 and BaBr2-SrI2 is the most promising. SrI2(Eu) emits into the Eu2+ band, centered at 435 nm, with a decay time of 1.2 mus and a light yield of up to 115,000 photons/MeV. It offers energy resolution better than 3% FWHM at 662 keV, and exhibits excellent light yield proportionality. Transparent ceramic fabrication allows the production of gadolinium- and terbium-based garnets which are not growable by melt techniques due to phase instabilities. The scintillation light yields of cerium-doped ceramic garnets are high, 20,000-100,000 photons/MeV. We are developing an understanding of the mechanisms underlying energy dependent scintillation light yield non-proportionality and how it affects energy resolution. We have also identified aspects of optical design that can be optimized to enhance the energy resolution.
Date of Publication: June 2009