skip to main content


Title: Improved lithium iodide neutron scintillator with Eu 2+ activation: The elimination of Suzuki-Phase precipitates

Monovalent alkali halides such as NaI, CsI, and LiI are widely used as inorganic scintillators for radiation detection due to their light yield, the capability for the growth of large single crystals, relatively low cost, and other favorable characteristics. These materials are frequently activated through the addition of small amounts (e.g., a few hundred ppm) of elements such as thallium - or sodium in the case of CsI. The monovalent alkali halide scintillators can also be activated with low concentrations of Eu 2+, however Eu activation has previously not been widely employed due to the non-uniform segregation of the divalent Eu dopant that leads to the formation of unwanted phases during Bridgman or other solidification crystal-growth methods. Specifically, for Eu concentrations near and above ~0.5%, Suzuki Phase precipitates form in the course of the melt-growth process, and these Suzuki Phase particles scatter the scintillation light. This adversely affects the scintillator performance via reduction in the optical transmission of the material, and depending on the crystal thickness and precipitated-particle concentration, this reduction can occur up to the point of opacity. Here we describe a post-growth process for the removal of Suzuki Phase precipitates from single crystals of the neutron scintillator LiImore » activated with Eu 2+ at concentrations up to and in excess of 3 wt.%, and we correlate the resulting neutron-detection performance with the thermal processing methods used to remove the Suzuki Phase particles. Furthermore, the resulting improved scintillator properties using increased Eu activator levels are applicable to neutron imaging and active interrogation systems, and pulse-height gamma-ray spectroscopy rather than pulse-shape discrimination can be used to discriminate between gamma ray and neutron interaction events.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research. Section A, Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 854; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0168-9002
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; neutron scintillator; lithium iodide; Suzuki phase; crystal growth; optical transparency
OSTI Identifier: