Glass and glass ceramics are attractive alternatives to the crystalline materials widely used in radiation detectors in basic research as well as for applications in medical diagnostics and homeland security detectors. The materials can be fabricated in moulds or by sol-gel techniques. Therefore, they can be prepared in various geometrical shapes such as blocks, plates, and thin fibres. Large quantities can be fabricated in a relatively short period of time with a relatively low cost. However, most of the glasses do not exhibit scintillation properties. Nevertheless, Ce-doped quartz produced by sol-gel technology demonstrates a high light yield. Recently, it has been shown that new glasses of binary composition enable fabrication of scintillation glasses heavily doped with Ce.
The lead-free glasses with the composition BaO*2SiO2:Ce (DSB:Ce) have a density of 3.7 g/cm3 and were found to be radiation hard under irradiation by gamma as well as high energy protons and their highly ionising secondary products.
A further increase of the glass density up to 4.5 g/cm3 accompanied by a high light yield could be achieved by adding Gd2O3+SiO2 with a molar ratio 1:1 and BaO+SiO2 with the molar ratio of up to 2:3, respectively. Even stronger increase of the glass density, the effective atomic charge Zeff, and the light yield is observed in glasses of a stoichiometric composition of Lu2O3 and SiO2. These glasses reach density values well above 4.7 g/cm3.
These features make the material promising for a breakthrough in development of inexpensive large volume calorimetric detectors or detecting units for remote inspection. The aim of this project is to improve the optical properties of this material and optimise the growing technology. The targeted applicability covers the fields of calorimetry, fast counting systems in radiation hard environment, detector systems for medical, technical, and security applications and low energy neutron detection. Initial tests of samples of larger volume were limited by a relatively high concentration of defects. To exploit the excellent properties of the new material a significant improvement and optimisation of the growing technology relies on the close cooperation of the consortium with experienced glass producers.