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Impact of precursor purity on optical properties and radiation detection of CsI:Tl scintillators

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Abstract

Cesium iodide doped with thallium (CsI:Tl) crystals was grown to develop the gamma-ray detectors by using low-cost raw materials. Effect of impurities on optical properties and radiation detection performance was investigated. By a modified homemade Bridgman–Stockbarger technique, CsI:Tl samples were grown in two levels of CsI and TlI reactant materials, i.e., having as a very high purity of 99.999 % and a high purity of 99.9 %. XRD measurements indicate CsI:Tl crystals having a good quality with a dominant (110) plane. Having a cubic structure, a lattice constant of CsI crystals of 0.4574 nm and a crystallite size of 43.539 nm were obtained. From the lower-purity raw materials, calcite was found in an orange crystal with a lattice constant of 0.4560 nm and a crystallite size of 43.089 nm. By PL measurements, the optical properties of the CsI:Tl crystals were analyzed. ~540-nm-wavelength PL peak was observed from the colorless high-purity crystal, and ~600-nm-wavelength PL peak was observed from the orange crystal. The brighter PL emission was obtained from the orange crystals suggesting impurities. CsI:Tl surface morphology by SEM exhibited a smooth surface with some parallel crystal facets. For electrical properties of high-quality CsI:Tl crystals, the electrical resistances were 230 ± 16 MΩ in cross-sectional direction and 714 ± 136 MΩ in vertical direction with respect to more homogeneous crystal quality in cross-sectional direction than that in vertical direction. TEM measurement was applied to evaluate the microstructure of colorless CsI:Tl crystal with different patterns of a cubic structure. Both CsI:Tl crystals show good efficiencies and good resolutions. Maintaining the same electronic conditions and amplifications, the colorless CsI:Tl scintillators represented a higher detection efficiency at 122 keV of Co-57 of 78.4 % and the energy resolution of 23.3 % compared to the detection efficiency of 75.9 % and the energy resolution of 34.6 % of the orange scintillators. In summary, the unintended impurity as calcite in low-cost CsI:Tl scintillators was found to enhance PL emission but shift the PL wavelength. However, efficiency of radiation detection is slightly lower. By coupling with a suitable PMT, the radiation detection efficiency of low-cost CsI:Tl scintillators can be improved. From these valuable results, growing new ternary materials as CsCaI2 or CsI:Ca or Ca-codoped CsI:Tl scintillators could be one of the promising approaches to achieve highly efficient and low-cost radiation detectors with the optimization of the crystal growth conditions in the future.

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Acknowledgments

This research has been financially supported by Ratchadapiseksompotch Fund, Chulalongkorn University and The Thailand Research Fund under contract No. TRG58802265.

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Correspondence to Phannee Saengkaew.

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Saengkaew, P., Sanorpim, S., Jitpukdee, M. et al. Impact of precursor purity on optical properties and radiation detection of CsI:Tl scintillators. Appl. Phys. A 122, 729 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00339-016-0254-x

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