5 years ago

Highly Soluble p-Terphenyl and Fluorene Derivatives as Efficient Dopants in Plastic Scintillators for Sensitive Nuclear Material Detection

Highly Soluble p-Terphenyl and Fluorene Derivatives as Efficient Dopants in Plastic Scintillators for Sensitive Nuclear Material Detection
Alan Sellinger, Joshua T. Koubek, Adam Mahl, Jonathan S. Tinkham, Henok A. Yemam, Uwe Greife
Plastic scintillators are commonly used as first-line detectors for special nuclear materials. Current state-of-the-art plastic scintillators based on poly(vinyltoluene) (PVT) matrices containing high loadings (>15.0 wt %) of 2,5-diphenyloxazole (PPO) offer neutron signal discrimination in gamma radiation background (termed pulse shape discrimination, PSD), however, they suffer from poor mechanical properties. In this work, a series of p-terphenyl and fluorene derivatives were synthesized and tested as dopants in PVT based plastic scintillators as possible alternatives to PPO to address the mechanical property issue and to study the PSD mechanism. The derivatives were synthesized from low cost starting materials in high yields using simple chemistry. The photophysical and thermal properties were investigated for their influence on radiation sensitivity/detection performance, and mechanical stability. A direct correlation was found between the melting point of the dopants and the subsequent mechanical properties of the PVT based plastic scintillators. For example, select fluorene derivatives used as dopants produced scintillator samples with mechanical properties exceeding those of the commercial PPO-based scintillators while producing acceptable PSD capabilities. The physical properties of the synthesized dopants were also investigated to examine their effect on the final scintillator samples. Planar derivatives of fluorene were found to be highly soluble in PVT matrices with little to no aggregation induced effects. Soluble fluorescent molecules in polymer matrices: Small molecule derivatives of p-terphenyl and fluorene were over-doped in a polymer matrix to induce prompt and delayed fluorescence that distinguishes between fast neutrons and gamma radiation sources. Photophysical properties of the derivatives were correlated with the detection performance.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/chem.201700877

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