|Title of Invention||
CERIUM CONTAINING SCINTILLATING MATERIAL AND METHOD OF GROWING THE SINGLE CRYSTAL SCINTILLATING MATERIAL THEREOF.
|Abstract||TITLE: CERIUM CONTAINING SCINTILLATING MATERIAL AND METHOD OF GROWING THE SINGLE CRYSTAL SCINTILLATING MATERIAL THEREOF. This invention relates to a scintillating material of composition M1-xCexBr3 where M is chosen from the group of Y, La or Gd or mixtures from the group of Y,La or Gd and X is the molar level of substitution of M by cerium, X being greater than or equal to 0.01 mol% and less than 100%. The single crystal of the scintillating material is obtained by Bridgman growth method, in particular in evacuated sealed quartz ampoules from a mixture of MBr3 and Ce Br3 powders.|
|Full Text||CERIUM CONTAINING SCINTILLATING MATERIAL AND METHOD OF
GROWING THE SINGLE CRYSTAL SCINTILLATING MATERIAL THEREOF
The present invention relates to scintilla tor crystals, to a manufacturing method
allowing them to be obtained and to the use of said crystals, especially in
gamma-ray and/or x-ray detectors.
Scintiilator crystals are widely used in detectors for gamma-rays, x-rays, cosmic
rays and particles whose energy is of the order of 1 keV and also greater than
A scintiilator crystal is a crystal which is transparent in the scintillation
wavelength range, which responds to incident radiation by emitting a fight puise.
From such crystals, generally single crystals, it is possible to manufacture
detectors in which the light emitted by the crystal that the detector comprises is
coupled to a light-detection means and produces an electrlca! signal proportional
to the number of light pulses received and to their intensity. Such detectors are
used especially in industry for thickness or weight measurements and in the
fields of nuclear medicine, physics, chemistry and oil exploration.
A family of known scintiilator crystals widely used is of the thallium-doped
sodium iodide Tl:Nal type. This scintillating material, discovered in 1943 by
Robert Hofstadter and which forms the basis of modern scintillators, still remains
the predominant material in this field in spite of almost 50 years of research on
other materials. However, these crystals have a scintillation decay which is not
A material which is also used is Csl which, depending
On the applications, may be used pure, or doped either with thallium (Tl) or with
One family of seintsllator crystals which has undergone considerable development
is of the bismuth germanate (BGO) type. The crystals of the BGO family have
high decay time constants; which limit the use of these crystals to low count
A more recent family of scintillator crystals was developed in the 1990s and is of
the cerium-activated iutetium oxyorthosilicate Ce:LSO type. However these
crystals are very heterogeneous and have very high melting points (about
The development of new scintillating materials for improved performance is the
subject of many studies.
One of the parameters that it is desired to improve is the energy resolution.
This is because in the majority of nuciear detector applications, good energy
resolution is desired. The energy resolution of a nuclear radiation detector
actually determines its ability to separate radiation energies which are very close.
It is usually determined for a given detector at a given energy, such as the width
at mid-height of the peak in question on an energy spectrum obtained from this
detector, in relation to the energy at the centroid of the peak (see in particular:
G.F. Knolf, "Radiation Detection and Measurement, John Wiley and Sons, Inc.,
2nd edition, p. 114). In the rest of the text, and for aH measurements carried out,
the resolution is determined at 662 keV, the energy of the main gamma emission
The smaller the energy resolution, the better the quality of the detector. It is
considered that energy
resolutions of about 7% enabie good results to be obtained. Nevertheless, lower
values of resolution are of great benefit,
For example, in the case of a detector used to analyze various radioactive
isotopes, improved energy resolution enables improved discrimination of these
An increase in the energy resolution is particularly advantageous for a medical
imaging device, for example of the Anger gamma-camera or positron emission
tomography (PET) type, since it enables the contrast and the quality of the
images to be considerably improved, thus allowing more accurate and earlier
detection of tumors.
Another very important parameter is the scintillation decay time constant; this
parameter is usually measured by the "Start Stop* or "Multi-hit" method",
(described by W.W. Moses (Nucl. Instr and Meth. A336 (1993)253).
The smallest possible decay time constant is desired, so as to be able to increase
the operating frequency of the detectors. In the field of nuclear medical imaging,
this makes it possible, for example, to considerably reduce the length of
examinations. A decay time constant which is not very high also enables the
temporal resolution of devices detecting events with temporal coincidence to be
improved. This is the case for positron emission tomographs (PET), where the
reduction in the scintillator decay time constant enables the images to be
significantly improved by rejecting noncoincident events with more accuracy.
In general, the spectrum of scintillation decay as a function of time may be
broken down into a sum of exponentials, each characterized by a decay time
The quality of a scintillator is essentially determined by the properties of the
contribution from the fastest emission comoonent.
The standard scintillating materials do not allow both good energy resolutions
and fast decay time constants to be obtained,
This is because materials such as Tl:NaI have good energy resolution under
gamma excitation, of about 7%, but a high decay time constant o" about 230 ns.
Similarly, T1:CsI and Na:CsI have high decay time constants, especially greater
than 500 ns.
Decay time constants which are not very high can be obtained with Ce:LSO,
especially of about 40 ns, but the energy resolution under gamma excitation at
662 keV of this material is generally greater than 10%.
Recently, scintillating materials have been disclosed by 0. Ouillot-Noel et a!.
("Optical and scintillation properties of cerium doped LaCl3,LuBr3 and LuC13" in
Journal of Luminescence 85 (1999) 21-35). This article describes the scintillation
properties of cerium-doped compounds such as LaCla doped with 0.57 mol% Ce;
LuBr3 doped with 0.021 mol%, 0.46 mol°/o and 0.76 mol% Ce; LuCl3 doped with
0.45 mo!% Ce. These scintillating mterials have quite useful energy resolutions,
of the order of 7%, and decay time constants of the fast scintillation component
which are fairly low, especially between 25 and 50 ns. However, the intensity of
the fast component of these materials is low, especially of the order of 1000 to
2000 photons per MeV, which means that they cannot be used as a component
of a high-performance detector.
The object of the present application relates to a material capable of having a
low decay time constant.
especially at least equivalent to that of Ce.LSO, and where the intensity of the
first scintillation component is suitable for producing a high-performance
detector, in particular is greater than 4000 ph/MeV (photons per MeV)/ or even
greater than 8000 ph/MeV (photons per MeV) and, in a preferred manner, a
good energy resolution, especially at least as good as that of Tl:NaI.
According to the invention, this aim is achieved by an inorganic scintillating
material of general composition M1-xCexBr3,
Where M is chosen from the lanthanides or mixtures of lanthanides of the
group: La, Gd, Y, especially chosen from the lanthanides or the mixtures of
lanthanides of the group; La, Gd,
and where x is the molar level of substitution of M by cerium,
subsequently called "cerium content", where x is greater than or equal to 0.01
mol% and strictly less than 100 mol%.
The term "lanthanide" refers to the transition elements of atomic numbers 57 to
71, and to yttrium (Y), as is standard in the technical field of the invention.
An inorganic scintillating material according to the invention substantially consists
of M1-xCexBr3 and may also comprise impurities usual in the technical field of the
invention. In general, the usual impurities are impurities coming from the raw
materials whose content is in particular less than 0.1%, or even less than 0.01%,
and/or the unwanted phases whose volume percentage is especially less than
In fact, the inventors have known how to show that the M1-xCexBr3 compounds
defined above, comprising cerium, have remarkable properties. The scintillation
emission of these materials has an intense fast component (of at least 10000
ph/Mev) and a low decay time constant, of
the order of 20 to 40 ns.
A preferred material according to the invention has the formula La1-xCexBr3; in
fact this material has simultaneously an excellent energy resolution at 662 kev, in
particular less than 5% , and even than 4%.
According to one embodiment, the scintillating material according to the
invention has an energy resolution of less than 5% at 562 kev.
According to another embodiment, the scintillating material according to the
invention has a fast decay time constant of less than 40 ns, or even of Jess than
According to a preferred embodiment, the scintillating material according to the
invention has both an energy resolution less than 5% at 662 keV and a fast
decay time constant of less than 40 ns, or even less than 30 ns.
In a preferred manner, the cerium content x is at least 1 mol% and is in
particular between 1 and 90 mo(%, and even in particular greater than or equal
to 2 mol%, or even greater than or equal to 4 mol% and/or preferably less than
or equal to SO mol%, or even less than or equal to 30 mol%.
According o another embodiment, the cerium content x Is between 0,01 mol%
and 1 mol%, in particular at least equal to 0.1 mol%, even at least equal to 0.2
mol%. In a preferred manner, the cerium content is substantially equa! to 0.5
According to one embodiment, the scintillating material according to the
invention is a single crystal making it possible to obtain components of high
transparency, the dimensions of which are enough to efficiently stop
and detect the radiation to be detected, including at high energy. The volume of
these single crystals is in particular of the order of 10 mm3, or even greater than
1 cm3 and even greater than 10 cm3.
According to another embodiment, the scintillating material according to the
invention is a powder or polycrystal, for example in the form of powders mixed
with a binder or else in the form of a sol-gel.
The invention also relates to a method for obtaining the scintillating material
M1-xCexBr3 defined above, in tine form of a single crystal by the Bridgman growth
method, for example in evacuated seated quartz ampoules, in particular from a
mixture of commercial MBr3 and CeBr3 powders.
The invention also relates to the use of the scintillating material above as a
component of a detector for detecting radiation in particular by gamma rays
Such a detector especially comprises a photodetector optically coupled to the
scintillator in order to produce an electrical signal in response to the emission of
a light pulse produced by the scintillator.
The photodetector of the detector may in particular be a photomuitiplier, or else
a photodiode, or else a CCD sensor.
The preferred use of this type of detector relates to the measurement of gamma
or X-ray radiation; such a system is also capable of detecting alpha and beta
radiation and electrons. The invention also relates to the use of the above
detector in nuclear medicine apparatuses, especially gamma cameras of the
Anger type and position emission tomography scanners (see for example C.W.E.
Van Eijk, "Inorganic Scintiiiator for
Medical Imaging", International Seminar New types of Detectors, 15-19 May
1995 - Archamp, France. Published in "Physica Medica", Vol. XII, Supplement 1,
According to another variant, the invention relates to the use of the above
detector in detection apparatuses for oil drilling, (see for example "Applocations
of scintillation counting and analysis", in "Photomu!tipSier tube, principle and
application", chapter 7, Philips}.
Other details and characteristics will emerge from the description below of
preferred nonlimiting embodiments and of data obtained on samples constituting
single crystals according to the invention,
Table 1 shows the characteristic scintillation results for examples according to
the invention (examples 1 to 5) and for comparative examples (examles A to G),
X is the cerium content, expressed in mol%, substituted into the atom M.
The measurements are carried out. under y-ray excitation at 662 keV, The
measurement conditions are specified in the publication by 0. Guillot-Noel, cited
The emission intensity is expressed in photons per MeV.
The emission intensity is recorded as a function of the integration time up to 0.5;
3 and 10 microseconds.
The fast scintillation component is characterized by its decay time constant, xt in
nanoseconds, and by its scintillation intensity (in photons/MeV), which represents
the contribution of this component to the total number of photons emitted by the
The samples used in the measurements of examples are
small single crystals of about 10 mm3.
From table 1, it is noticed that the compounds according to the invention o the
M1-xCexBr3 type comprising cerium (ex1 to ex5) all have very advantageous
decay time constants of fast fluorescence component, between 20 and 40 ns and
lhe scintillation intensity of this fast component is remarkable and is very much
greater than 10000 ph/MeV: in fact it reaches about 40000 ph/MeV.
In addition, the resolution, R%, of the examples according to the invention (exl
to ex4) where MLa, is excellent and has an unexpected nature, with values
between 3 and 4%, which is a considerable improvement with respect to Tl:NaI.
This is because the known ianthanide bromide compounds (examples A, B and
C) do not have as remarkable a set of scintillation characteristics. For example,
the cerium-doped lutetium bromides (examples B and C) have a good resolution,
R%, but the intensity of the fast component is low, very substantially less that
4000 ph/MeV, As for the known Ianthanide fluorides (examples D, E, F, G), they
have a very low emission intensity.
In a particularly surprising manner, the inventors noticed a considerable increase
in the intensity of the fast emission component for the La and Gd bromides
The scintillating materials according to the invention, in particular the materials
of general composition La1-xCexBr3 have a performance which is particularly
suitable for increasing the performance of detectors, both in terms of energy
resolution, temporal resolution and count rate.
1. A scintillating material of composition M1-xCexBr3 where M is chosen from
the group of Y, La or Gd or mixtures from the group of Y, La or Gd and X is the
molar level of substitution of M by cerium, X being greater than or equal to 0.01
mol% and less than 100%.
2. The scintillating material as claimed in claim 1 wherein M is lanthanum
3. The scintillating material as claimed in claims 1 or 2 wherein X is greater
than 1 mol% and/or less than or equal to 90 mol% or even less than or equal to
50 mol% and even less than or equal to 30 mol%.
4. The scintillating material as claimed in claim 3 wherein 2 mol% = x = 30
5. The scintillating material as claimed in claims 1 and 2 wherein 0.01 mol%
= x = 1 mol%, precisely less than or equal to 0.1 mol%, specifically substantially
equal to 0.5mol%.
6. The scintillating material as claimed in the preceeding claims wherein the
material is a single crystal specifically greater than 10 mm3 or even greater than
7. The scintillating material as claimed in the preceeding claims wherein the
material is a powder or a polycrystal.
8. A method of growing the single crystal scintillating material as claimed in
claim 6 wherein the single crystal is obtained by the 8ridgman growth method, in .
particular in evacuated sealed quartz ampoules from a mixture of MBr3 and
Ce Br3 powders.
9. Scintillating material as a component of scintillating detector as claimed in
the preceding claims wherein the said detector is applied in an industria" or
medical or oil drilling appliances,
10. Scintillating material as a component of scintillating detector as claimed in
claim 9 to detect positron emission in an Emission Tomographic scanner.
11. Scintillating material as a component of scintillating detector as claimed in
claim 9 to detect gamma or x rays in a gamma camera of the Anger type.
This invention relates to a scintillating material of composition
M1-xCexBr3 where M Is chosen from the group of Y, La or Gd or
mixtures from the group of Y, La or Gd and X is the molar level of
substitution of M by cerium, X being greater than or equal to 0.01
mol% and less than 100%. The single crystal of the scintillating
material is obtained by Bridgman growth method, in particular in
evacuated sealed quartz ampoules from a mixture of MBr3 and Ce Br3
|Indian Patent Application Number||IN/PCT/2002/932/KOL|
|PG Journal Number||06/2008|
|Date of Filing||17-Jul-2002|
|Name of Patentee||STICHTING VOOR DE TECHNISCHE WETENSCHAPPEN|
|Applicant Address||THE NETHERLANDS, VAN VOLLENHOVENLAAN 661 NL-3527 JP UTRECHT,|
|PCT International Classification Number||C09K 11/85,C01F17/00|
|PCT International Application Number||PCT/EP01/01838|
|PCT International Filing date||2001-02-16|