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Pulse-shape discrimination in organic scintillators using the rising edge

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The possibility of discriminating between neutrons and γ rays on the basis of differences in the rising edge of corresponding pulses from organic scintillation detectors is described. It has long been known that radiation type can be discerned on the basis of subtle differences in pulse shape from a variety of detection materials, but discrimination in fast organic scintillators has long been reliant on the separation in decay face of the pulse. This can constrain pulse-shape discrimination techniques to follow after the peak amplitude of the event and they can thus be more susceptible to the effects of pile up. Furthermore, discrimination in the decay face places a fundamental limit on the time relative to the evolution of the event when discrimination can be performed and thus this can be a significant constraint on the event processing rate for high pulse-rate applications. In this paper the correspondence between established mathematical models of organic pulse shape and real events in the rising edge part of the event is investigated, and the potential for rise-time based pulse-shape discrimination in mixed-field data from organic scintillators is explored. Special nuclear materials (SNM) are of particular interest to security surveillance and based on active interrogation. Active interrogation involves neutrons hitting a material that is fissile, and detecting the emitted γ rays and neutrons to try and classify materials. Faster, more efficient and more transportable devices are being sought to help in the prevention of illicit transport of nuclear materials. SNM are difficult to detect due to high-flux γ emissions, and very low neutron signatures.

Bibliographic note

IEEE Advancements in Nuclear instrumentation, Measurement Methods and Analysis, Marseille, June 2013.