A gadolinium (Gd) loaded scintillation gel (Gd-ScintGel) compound allows for neutron and gamma-ray detection. The unique gel scintillator encompasses some of the best features of both liquid and solid scintillators, yet without many of the disadvantages associated therewith. Preferably, the gel scintillator is a water soluble Gd-DTPA compound and water soluble fluorophores such as: CdSe/ZnS (or ZnS) quantum dot (Q-dot) nanoparticles, coumarin derivatives 7-hydroxy-4-methylcoumarin, 7-hydroxy-4-methylcoumarin-3-acetic acid, 7-hydroxycoumarin-3-carboxylic acid, and Alexa Fluor 350 as well as a carbostyril compound, carbostyril 124 in a stable water-based gel, such as methylcellulose or polyacrylamide polymers. The Gd-loaded ScintGel allows for a homogenious distribution of the Gd-DTPA and the fluorophores, and yields clean fluorescent emission peaks. A moderator, such as deuterium or a water-based clear polymer, can be incorporated in the Gd-ScintGel. The gel scintillators can be used in compact detectors, including neutron and antineutrino detectors.
 The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC07-05ID14517, between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Battelle Energy Alliance LLC.