By National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements
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Extra resources for A Handbook of Radioactivity Measurements Procedures: With Nuclear Data for Some Biomedically Important Radionuclides
Many scintillation liquids contain an additional component generally referred to as a secondary solute, or secondary scintillator. The secondary scintillator was originally used to match the spectral response of the phototube to that of the light emitted by the scintillator. Therefore, the term wavelength shifter was often used. This matching is no longer essential because many scintillators exhibit m values of 95 to 97 percent. However, secondary scintillators are still used to improve the performance of liquid-scintillation systems, particularly in quenched systems.
For simple applications, where the detector is to be employed for integral photon or particle counting, the system comprises the detector, phototube voltage supply, a pulse amplifier (with preamplifier), discriminator to eliminate electronic noise from the output, and a scaler or count-rate meter for indication of counting rate. If differential energy measurement of charged particles or photons is required, then the output of the linear pulse amplifier is fed to a multichannel pulseheight analyzer (PHA) which provides a means of measuring the amplitude of each pulse from the detector, and presents the energy spectrum of the radiation being measured in the form of a differential pulse-amplitude distribution.
Any further increase in voltage will cause only a small increase in counting rate. An increase in the effective sensitive volume of the counter, or the onset of spurious pulses, can also cause the plateau to have a positive slope. The use of low gas gains, as permitted by lownoise amplifiers even for particle energies of a few keV, may be important in avoiding possible spurious pulses (Campion, 1973; Williams and Smith, 1973; BIPM, 1976), which are, however, usually negligible when the counter is operated near the middle of the plateau.