The use of energy information in plastic scintillator material

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Plastic scintillator material is often used for gamma-ray detection in many applications due to its relatively good sensitivity and cost-effectiveness compared to other detection materials. However, due to the dominant Compton scattering interaction mechanism, full energy peaks are not observed in plastic scintillator spectra and isotopic identification is impossible. Typically plastic scintillator detectors are solely gross count detectors. In some safeguards and security applications, such as radiation portal monitors for vehicle screening, naturally-occurring radioactive material (NORM) often triggers radiation alarms and results in innocent or nuisance alarms. The limited energy information from plastic scintillator material can be used to discriminate the NORM from targeted materials and reduce the nuisance alarm rate. An overview of the utilization of the energy information from plastic scintillator material will be presented, with emphasis on the detection capabilities and potential limitations for safeguards and security applications.

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