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Crystal growth and optical properties of new neutron detectors Ce 3+:Li6R(BO3)3 (R=Gd,Y)

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5 Author(s)
J. P. Chaminade ; Inst. of Chem. of Condensed Matter of Bordeaux, Pessac, France ; O. Viraphong ; F. Guillen ; C. Fouassier
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An efficient new scintillator that contains lithium, gadolinium, and boron, all three of which possess large neutron capture cross-section isotopes for highly exothermic reactions, has been recently developed. The homologous yttrium material was also investigated. These compounds of composition Li6R(BO3 )3 (R=Gd, Y) can be activated by Ce3+. The synthesis of powders was carried out by high-temperature solid-state reaction from the starting materials LiOH, H2O, H3BO3, Gd2O3, or Y2 O3, and Ce(NO3)3, 6H2O of purity ⩾99.99%, under a flow of argon/H2 (5%). Under ultraviolet excitation, they show a broadband emission peaking at 390 nm. The gadolinium emission lies near the maximum of a 4f-5d Ce3+ absorption band, so efficient Gd3+-Ce3+ transfer occurs. Ce3+:Li6R(BO3)3 (R=Gd, Y) crystals were grown by the Czochralski method in a resistance heating furnace using a conical vitreous carbon crucible of 150 cm3 under deoxygenated pure argon. Monocrystalline boules as large as 3 cm diameter and 6 cm length have been obtained. The interest of these new materials is the high scintillation efficiency-as much as six times that of Li-glass scintillators for the Gd material. Moreover, these scintillators offer the ability to tailor their response to the neutron spectrum by varying the isotopic composition of the key constituents [lithium, gadolinium (yttrium), boron]

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IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 4 )