Response of organic liquid scintillators to fast neutrons and gamma radiation
Liquid organic scintillators are cocktails of aromatic fluorophores in an aromatic solvent. They find widespread use in Liquid Scintillation Counters with applications in medical diagnostics as well as fundamental nuclear and particle physics. Ultima Gold™ XR, a commercially available organic liquid scintillator from Perkin Elmer, can be used in both aqueous and non-aqueous systems and is typically used for beta detection in medical diagnostics. Its performance under gamma radiation and neutron radiation is less well-characterized.
Special and normal Ultima Gold™ XR liquid scintillators were exposed in separate experiments to fast neutrons and high energy photons from a nuclear reactor and to gamma rays from a Co-60 source. To perform the measurements in the radiation chamber, a custom light collection system consisting of a fiber optic cable, spectrometer and a diffuse reflecting optical cavity was fabricated. Advanced calibration procedures, traceable to NIST standards, were developed to determine photon fluxes and flux densities of the scintillators under ionizing radiation conditions. The scintillator emission spectra under gamma radiation from a Co-60 source and neutron radiation from a pool-type nuclear reactor were recorded and compared. Results on the spectrometer design and comparison of the spectra under different exposure are presented.