Self-assembled natLiCl–CeCl3 directionally solidified eutectics for thermal neutron detection
Novel natLiCl–CeCl3 eutectic scintillators for thermal neutron detection were synthesized by using the vertical Bridgman method. The eutectic molar ratio of LiCl and CeCl3 is 0.75/0.25. The effects of solidification speed on the microstructure, optical properties, and scintillation properties under γ and neutron irradiation were studied. The grown natLiCl–CeCl3 eutectics have a lamellar structure. Excited by X-rays, the scintillation emission of the natLiCl–CeCl3 eutectics peaks at 365 nm, which is related to the Ce3+ 5d–4f emission, and a broad and weak emission appears at 526 nm. The scintillation decay time of the natLiCl–CeCl3 eutectics under γ irradiation is about 20 ns. The energy spectra under Pu/Be source irradiation indicate that the synthesized natLiCl–CeCl3 is capable of detecting thermal neutrons.