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A compact and high efficiency GAGG well counter for radiocesium concentration measurements

Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.nima.2014.03.030
  • Gagg
  • Well Counter
  • Radiocesium
  • X-Ray
  • Physics


Abstract After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, social concern about radiocesium (137Cs and 134Cs) contamination in food increased. However, highly efficient instruments that can measure low level radioactivity are quite expensive and heavy. A compact, lightweight, and reliable radiation detector that can inexpensively monitor low level radiocesium is highly desired. We developed a compact and highly efficient radiocesium detector to detect ~32keV X-rays from radiocesium instead of high energy gamma photons. A 1-mm thick GAGG scintillator was selected to effectively detect ~32keV X-rays from 137Cs to reduce the influence of ambient radiation. Four sets of 25mm×25mm×1mm GAGG plates, each of which was optically coupled to a triangular-shaped light guide, were optically coupled to a photomultiplier tube (PMT) to form a square-shaped well counter. Another GAGG plate was directly optically coupled to the PMT to form its bottom detector. The energy resolution of the GAGG well counter was 22.3% FWHM for 122keV gamma rays and 32% FWHM for ~32keV X-rays. The counting efficiency for the X-rays from radiocesium (mixture of 137Cs and 134Cs) was 4.5%. In measurements of the low level radiocesium mixture, a photo-peak of ~32keV X-rays can clearly be distinguished from the background. The minimum detectable activity (MDA) was estimated to be ~100Bq/kg for 1000s measurement. The results show that our developed GAGG well counter is promising for the detection of radiocesium in food.

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