Characterization of Deuterated-Xylene Scintillator as a Neutron Spectrometer

A. Di Fulvio, F. D. Becchetti, R. S. Raymond, R. O. Torres-Isea, S. D. Clarke, S. A. Pozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have experimentally characterized the neutron light output response functions of a deuterated-xylene scintillator for neutron energies lower than 10 MeV. We then used the response matrix to unfold the energy distribution of neutrons produced via several reactions, i.e., spontaneous fission, d(d,n)3He, 27Al(d,n)28Si, and 9Be(alpha,n)12C. Organic scintillators based on deuterated compounds show a fast response and good gamma-neutron discrimination capability, similar to or better than proton-based scintillators. Deuterated scintillators can also effectively provide neutron energy spectra by unfolding measured data with the detector response matrix, without the need of time-of-flight. Deuteron recoils, produced by elastic collisions between deuterium and impinging neutrons, are preferentially forward-scattered. This non-isotropic reaction results in distinct peaks in the response functions to monoenergetic neutrons. In this work, we evaluated a custom-fabricated 7.62 cm \times 7.62 cm deuterated-xylene (EJ301D) liquid scintillator. This liquid has a low volatility and higher flash point, compared to benzene-based deuterated detectors, e.g., EJ315 and NE230. We measured the EJ301D detector neutron response matrix (up to 6 MeV neutron energy) using an intense 252Cf source and the time-of-flight technique. The number of response functions obtained using our method is only limited by counting statistics and by the experimentally achievable energy resolution. Multi-channel unfolding was then performed successfully for neutron sources with different energy spectra.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7745900
Pages (from-to)1825-1832
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Deuterated scintillators
  • neutron detection
  • neutron spectroscopy
  • nuclear safeguards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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