Recent renewed emphasis placed on gamma-ray detectors for national security purposes has motivated researchers to identify and develop new scintillator materials capable of high energy resolution and growable to large sizes.
We have discovered that SrI2(Eu) scintillators has many desirable properties for gamma-ray detection and spectroscopy, including high light yield of ∼90,000 photons/MeV and excellent light yield proportionality. We have measured <2.7% FWHM at 662 keV with small detectors (<1 cm3) in direct contact with a photomultiplier tube, and ∼3% resolution at 662 keV is obtained for 1 in.3 crystals. Due to the hygroscopic nature of SrI2(Eu) scintillators, similar to NaI(Tl), proper packaging is required for field use.
This work describes a systematic study performed to determine the key factors in the packaging process to optimize performance. These factors include proper polishing of the surface, the geometry of the crystal, reflector materials and windows. A technique based on use of a collimated 137Cs source was developed to examine light collection uniformity.
Employing this technique, we found that when the crystal is packaged properly, the variation in the pulse height at 662 keV from events near the bottom of the crystal compared to those near the top of the crystal could be reduced to <1%. This paper describes the design and engineering of our detector package in order to improve energy resolution of 1 in.3-scale SrI2(Eu) scintillators crystals.
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