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Organic Glass for Radiation Detection

Sandia National Laboratories

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Sandia&#39;s organic glass scintillators

Sandia's organic glass scintillators

Technology Marketing Summary

Sandia National Laboratories developed an organic glass scintillator that will improve safety and security at our nation’s ports and borders. Current radiation monitors typically utilize plastic scintillators, which are unable to differentiate between special nuclear materials and normal or nonthreatening sources of radiation without a separate helium tube. The type of helium used in these tubes is rare and nonrenewable, adding cost and complexity to the system. Sandia’s organic glass scintillator provides detection capabilities that were limited to expensive, fragile trans-stilbene in a cheaper and more portable form.

Description

Manufactured via melt casting, Sandia’s organic glass scintillators consist of a combination of two organic compounds that resist crystallization and can be formed into almost any shape, including thin fibers. The resulting scintillator demonstrates high scintillation yields and discrimination between gamma rays (environmental radiation) and controlled threat materials such as plutonium or uranium with high selectivity. This material is also suitable for other applications that require high luminosity, high electron/hole mobilities, and stable film-forming properties such as organic electronics. This new class of scintillation material outperforms trans-stilbene, the gold standard in radiation detection material, and is far quicker and easier to produce—making it a better option for incorporation in to detection devices used by our nation’s security personnel and first responders.

Benefits
  • Light yields of up to 115% trans-stilbene crystals and better neutron/gamma pulse shape discrimination (PSD) performance
  • Rapid, large-scale production
  • Low cost
  • Can be cast into nearly any shape
  • Mechanically and physically stable
Applications and Industries
  • Nuclear non-proliferation
  • Border security
  • Radiation physics
  • Organic electronics
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Date
Patent 9,845,334
Patent
9,845,334
High-efficiency organic glass scintillators
A new family of neutron/gamma discriminating scintillators is disclosed that comprises stable organic glasses that may be melt-cast into transparent monoliths. These materials have been shown to provide light yields greater than solution-grown trans-stilbene crystals and efficient PSD capabilities when combined with 0.01 to 0.05% by weight of the total composition of a wavelength-shifting fluorophore. Photoluminescence measurements reveal fluorescence quantum yields that are 2 to 5 times greater than conventional plastic or liquid scintillator matrices, which accounts for the superior light yield of these glasses. The unique combination of high scintillation light-yields, efficient neutron/gamma PSD, and straightforward scale-up via melt-casting distinguishes the developed organic glasses from existing scintillators.
Sandia National Laboratories 12/19/2017
Issued
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
SD#13983Prototype - Sandia estimates this technology at a Technology Readiness Level 4/5. Key elements have been demonstrated in laboratory and relevant environments.Available03/26/201803/26/2018

Contact SNL About This Technology

To: <ip@sandia.gov>