Ceramic scintillators are a type of transparent optical ceramic (TOC). TOCs are polycrystalline bodies composed of inorganic compounds such as metal oxides or halides. Ceramics are constructed by bonding fine powders of material at high temperature and pressure. Ceramic scintillators convert the energy in ionizing radiation (X-rays, gamma-rays, particles, and neutrons) into light. The light is measured by coupling the scintillator to an optical detector such as a photomultiplier tube, an avalanche photodiode or a solid state photodiode.
Important requirements for ceramic scintillators include high light output, high stopping efficiency for the incident radiation, and fast response. Minimal afterglow, stable performance, low cost, and good linearity are also important.
Ceramics offer a number of advantages over single crystal scintillators including increased flexibility in scintillator composition, higher purity, lower processing temperatures, faster processing cycles, and lower cost. The technology also permits near net shape fabrication, thereby reducing machining costs and providing the ability to produce complex shapes if required.
Applications range from X-ray diagnostic imaging to X-ray CT scanning and nuclear medicine systems such as PET and SPECT. Similar devices are also used by Homeland Security for the detection of radioactive materials to counter external threats. In addition to scintillators, TOCS are used in lighting, IR ray domes for missile guidance systems, laser hosts, and transparent armor (windows for military vehicles)
Because of their high detection efficiency for gamma rays and X-ray’s, transparent mixed heavy metal garnet scintillators have excellent potential for radiation detection and for medical imaging applications. In particular, lutetium/gadolinium, aluminum/gallium garnets (Gd,Lu)3(Al,Ga)5O12:Ce and denoted as GLuGAG features a high effective atomic number and good light yield, which make it particularly attractive for applications such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET). The properties of ceramic GLuGAG:Ce are nearly identical to single crystal GLuGAG, which is more difficult to grow in large sizes and requires which requires longer, higher temperature processes to produce.
1.5”x1.5”x1” GLuGAG Cube
22mm OD × 29mm GLuGAG Cylinder
GLuGAG nuclear imaging pixel bars