6LiF:ZnS(Ag) Mixture Optimization for a Highly Efficient Ultrathin Cold Neutron Detector

A. Osovizky, K. Pritchard, J. Ziegler, E. Binkley, Y. Yehuda-Zada, P. Tsai, A. Thompson, C. Cooksey, K. Siebein, N. Hadad, M. Jackson, C. Hurlbut, R. Ibberson, G. M. Baltic, C. F. Majkrzak, N. C. Maliszewskyj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We report the optimization of 6LiF:ZnS(Ag) scintillator mixtures for an ultrathin (<2 mm), highly efficient cold neutron detector. Preliminary results with early prototypes demonstrated excellent absorption for 3.62-meV (4.75-Å wavelength) neutrons but mediocre neutron sensitivity ( ≈ 30%). Our optimization took the form of exploring the weight ratios of neutron converter, phosphor, and binder to promote high neutron capture probability and light transport within the medium. We characterized a series of 6LiF:ZnS(Ag):binder mixtures for neutron absorption, light yield, and light transmission properties. In the process, we determined the optimal configuration for our requirements of millimeter thickness and cold neutron energy. Optimized prototypes exhibit excellent absorption and demonstrate neutron sensitivities of above 85% for 3.27-meV neutrons and gamma ray rejection ratios approaching 10-7.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1032
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Chromatic analysis neutron diffractometer or reflectometer (CANDOR)
  • LiF:ZnS(Ag)
  • neutron detector
  • wavelength shifting (WLS) fiber

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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