making out own scintillation crystals. Is it possible?

Scintillation crystals, PMTs, voltage dividers etc...
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Conor Whyte
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making out own scintillation crystals. Is it possible?

Post by Conor Whyte » 23 May 2020, 17:15

I was reading some literature on the vertical Bridgman method of growing CeBr3, SrI2:Eu and LaBr3:Ce crystals and I got curious if we as hobbyists might be able to start growing our own scintillation crystals?

There is a bit of literature on DIY bridgeman furnaces that looked promising.


Any experienced chemists here?




Just a thought..

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Pavel M.
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Re: making out own scintillation crystals. Is it possible?

Post by Pavel M. » 24 May 2020, 08:38

I suppose that most of us have thought about this idea at some point.
Although it's definitely possible to build an improvised DIY crystal-growing furnace setup (with the end-result probably proportional to your starting budget), I don't think that it would be effective nor practical for this purpose. For good results, you'd need to control many variables, like the optimal temperature gradient, really pure materials (to avoid impurities and contamination), filling the chamber with some inert gas, experimenting with many different designs, etc. Making a nice crystal with this method is one thing, but producing scintillation crystals suitable for GS would be a whole new level of complications, IMHO. It seems to me like a pretty expensive and time-consuming project.
I'm not experienced with these methods at all, but I think it would be quite difficult to say the least... But IDK, maybe the scintillation crystals don't have to be that perfect in quality, so it could be actually worth a shot. Growing our own scintillators at home would be very cool indeed :)
Location: Czech Republic
Equipment:
  • Spectrometer: Scintillix SCGS-01 v3.0
  • Probe: Scintillix 2.5" with 3" PMT

luuk
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Re: making out own scintillation crystals. Is it possible?

Post by luuk » 24 May 2020, 22:14

Hi Conor,
It sound great to make your own crystal, but growing a crystal is a very complicated process.
I am sorry but don’t expect that it is possible to grow a crystal at home like Pavel said ,there are too many parameters you need to control, then there is the purchasing of the right materials that is not easy, and mixing them in the right proportion is a very accurate and difficult process a little variation and it does not work a few ppm can determine good or bad.
Crystals are grown in a clean environment sometimes even in a e.g. Argon or Helium environment to make sure that the crystals don’t start to oxidize during the grown.
Growing a crystal takes a long time and during that time you need 100% control over e.g. temperature but also stability if there is a tiny tremble from e.g. a passing car/truck your process can be fully disturbed , so not something to do on the kitchen table.
When I worked for Harshaw I saw many times what can happen when something in the growing process is disturbing the process.
And when you manage to grow a crystal you also need to treat and can it an other obstacle in the process.
So I expect that will be a nice dream but not more than that, sorry!
Luuk

Conor Whyte
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Re: making out own scintillation crystals. Is it possible?

Post by Conor Whyte » 26 May 2020, 17:49

Yes, I thought this would be the reaction to my inquiry.
DIY scintillation crystals are a bit of a dream unless one has the perfect setup.

I wonder if anyone has given it a go? Makes me even more curious.


At least ZnS:Ag is completely doable at home for Alpha scintillation detectors.

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