Posted on: 21st December 2015

#21 CeBr scintillators

Image: A scintillation crystal surrounded by various packaged scintillation products. By Saint-Gobain Crystals (Saint-Gobain Crystals owned.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Image: A scintillation crystal surrounded by various packaged scintillation products. By Saint-Gobain Crystals (Saint-Gobain Crystals owned.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Scintillators, materials that re-emit the absorbed energy in the form of light, are used in fusion devices for diagnostics involving gamma-ray radiation measurements. To obtain reliable results, the fusion community requires scintillators with fast response times. Fusion researchers have developed CeBr (cerium bromide) scintillators that have a response time of less than 20 nanoseconds. Previously used gamma ray detectors had been unsatisfactory in their time resolution, limiting their applications in medical positron emission tomography (PET) scanners and material science measurements. The CeBr scintillators not only show a good response time but can also be used in an environment where the temperature is variable.

Patient services that involve use of positron emission tomography (PET) scans definitely improve from the new scintillators because it will result in reducing measurement time and a decrease in the strength of a line source. CeBr scintillators are also currently being investigated for use in space missions by ESA, in particular for gamma ray detection.

The complexity and the multidisciplinary nature of fusion research produced number of spin-offs that have found applications in industry, other scientific disciplines, and technological advances. The areas that have benefited from fusion research span a variety of fields ranging from medicine and material science to computing and astrophysics.

EUROfusion has identified some of these spin-offs, looked at fusion research aspects that have the potential for short-term benefits, and prepared a non-exhaustive list of fusion spin-offs which demonstrate the short-term benefits of fusion research on the way to fusion electricity.