Synthesis and characterisation of scintillating microspheres made of polystyrene/polycarbonate for 222Rn measurements
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Several studies have demonstrated that polycarbonate-based polymers have good capacities for the absorption of 222Rn. Meanwhile, polystyrene polymers are reported to be the most appropriate for developing plastic scintillator materials for the detection of radioactivity. The objective of this work was to develop plastic scintillators in the form of microspheres (PSm) composed of polystyrene and polycarbonate that could be used to measure 222Rn and improve this performance thanks to the combination of characteristics of both polymers. Our results show that PSm of polystyrene and polycarbonate can be made via the evaporation/extraction method, despite the two polymers not being miscible. From the point of view of the radioactive measurements, we observed that the addition of polycarbonate causes quenching, although it does not significantly affect the detection efficiency for alpha and high-energy beta emitters. From the point of view of 222Rn absorption, we observed that synthesis of the PSm through the evaporation/extraction method changes the 222Rn absorption of the raw material. This result demonstrates that the method of production of the polymer and the resulting physical characteristics are a key parameter for its final 222Rn absorption properties.
KeywordsPlastic scintillation microspheres 222Rn Polystyrene Polycarbonate
We thank the Spanish Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad (MINECO) for financial support, under award CTM2014-02020 and the Catalan Agència de Gestió d’Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca (AGAUR) for financial support under award 2014-SGR-1277. This work was also supported in part by the Bulgarian National Science Fund under contract DFNI T02/13 “POLYRAD”. The authors thank Tatiana Boshkova for performing the gamma spectrometry measurements and Philippe Cassette for suggesting the counting geometry for the LSC measurements of 222Rn.
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