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New Class of Radiation Detection Materials

Sandia National Laboratories

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Biphenyl MOF infiltrated with Iridium tri-plet harvester
Biphenyl MOF infiltrated with Iridium tri-plet harvester

Spectral shape discrimination data for an iridium-MOF scintillator
Spectral shape discrimination data for an iridium-MOF scintillator

Technology Marketing SummarySandia National Laboratories has created a new class of scintillators with novel properties enabling use in a wide range of particle detection schemes, including pulse-shape discrimination methods for detecting fast neutrons. Known as Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs), they are crystalline nanoporous structures in which a luminescent organic component is chemically linked to a heavy metal ion such as zinc. The light output and timing of MOFs is highly tunable because their structure is governed by well-known chemistry, allowing the chemical nature of the organic fluor and its local environment to be tuned.DescriptionA wide variety of luminescent organic components can be incorporated. In addition, the nanopores in their structure can be infiltrated with species such as wavelength shifters, elements that facilitate detection of thermal neutrons, or additional hydrogen to increase the overall cross section for neutron detection. Infiltration with triplet exciton harvesters enables spectral shape discrimination (SSD), in which particle type is determined by the shape of the luminescence spectrum. MOFs therefore offer an unprecedented level of flexibility to design a scintillator for a specific radiation detection application. Because they are solids, the hazards associated with liquid organic scintillators are absent.Benefits
  • High sensitivity detection of fission neutrons with improved gamma ray rejection capability
  • Simplified pulse processing and reduced timing requirements
  • Elimination of hazardous material storage, transportation, and disposal
  • Can be used to detect other components, such as oxygen
  • Enhanced detection of special nuclear materials
Applications and Industries
  • Radiation Detection
  • Public Safety
  • National Security
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 7,985,868
Hybrid metal organic scintillator materials system and particle detector
We describe the preparation and characterization of two zinc hybrid luminescent structures based on the flexible and emissive linker molecule, trans-(4-R,4'-R') stilbene, where R and R' are mono- or poly-coordinating groups, which retain their luminescence within these solid materials. For example, reaction of trans-4,4'-stilbenedicarboxylic acid and zinc nitrate in the solvent dimethylformamide (DMF) yielded a dense 2-D network featuring zinc in both octahedral and tetrahedral coordination environments connected by trans-stilbene links. Similar reaction in diethylformamide (DEF) at higher temperatures resulted in a porous, 3-D framework structure consisting of two interpenetrating cubic lattices, each featuring basic to zinc carboxylate vertices joined by trans-stilbene, analogous to the isoreticular MOF (IRMOF) series. We demonstrate that the optical properties of both embodiments correlate directly with the local ligand environments observed in the crystal structures. We further demonstrate that these materials produce high luminescent response to proton radiation and high radiation tolerance relative to prior scintillators. These features can be used to create sophisticated scintillating detection sensors.
Sandia National Laboratories 07/26/2011
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
SD #10421.1, US PATENT #7,985,868 Prototype - Sandia estimates this technology to have a technology readiness level of approximately 4. Key elements of this technology have been demonstrated in laboratory environments.Available03/16/201203/19/2013

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