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Detection of beta-emitters in gas with YAG:Ce highly porous aerogels

Abstract : Beta emitting radioisotopes are challenging to detect and differentiate due to their rather short mean free path in air at low kinetic energies (up to tens of keV). In concert with importance of these isotopes to nuclear security and their presence in the air it is of special interest to search a detection method of beta ray emitters such as 85Kr, 133Xe, 3H and even 37Ar. In metrology, for some of these isotopes, the current method consist in bubbling these gas in water which is then mix in a liquid scintillator. However, this method produces a waste product that is a mixture of organic and aqueous compounds and radioactivity.. In addition, these can hardly be operated in out of a lab and is a delayed measurement requiring source preparation. Our aim is to develop a full solid-state scintillating detector where the radioactive gas is penetrating the scintillator, as in the case of bubbles in a liquid. Our strategy is based on highly porous scintillating materials made of scintillating inorganic nanoparticles. In this frame we have developed dedicated highly concentrated colloidal solution of YAG:Ce nanoparticles. These starting solutions allow to prepare gels and then aerogels using supercritical drying. This novel material possesses a very high porosity (density about 0.2). The important properties for the detection of isotopes are the requirement for a rather fast decay time and a good scintillation yield. The nanoparticles and the aerogels were investigated under the X-ray excitations and 450 nm excitations. While hydrogen-calcinated powders (and aerogels), are showing higher photoluminescence efficiencies under optical excitation, air-calcinated are exhibiting faster decay times and better scintillation yields highlighting the extreme sensitivity of the nanoparticles the Ce3+/Ce4+ valence state. After optimization of the thermal annealing, the aerogels have been measured under live radioactive gas (85Kr) tests using the triple to double coincidence method, a standard method in metrology of radioactivity detection and the aerogels demonstrate already the highest high triple/double coincidence ratios and total counts ever achieved. Preliminary results on the monte-carlo simulation for various geometries will also be presented.
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Submitted on : Thursday, November 24, 2022 - 2:30:08 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, November 26, 2022 - 5:58:14 AM


  • HAL Id : cea-03869821, version 1


Pavlo Mai, Raphael Luci Marie, Sabrina dos Santos, Sylvie Pierre, Frédéric Lerouge, et al.. Detection of beta-emitters in gas with YAG:Ce highly porous aerogels. SCINT 2022 - 16th International Conference on Scintillating Materials & their Applications, Sep 2022, Santa Fe, United States. , 2022. ⟨cea-03869821⟩



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