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Superheavy scintillators based on REAO4 compounds (RE= rare earth element,  A= V, Ta and Nb)

Olesia Voloshyna 1Vyacheslav N. Baumer 2Svetlana Neicheva 1Nikolay Starzhinskiy 1Igor Zenya 1Sergey Gridin 1Oleg Sidletskiy 1

1. Institute for scintillation materials of NAS of Ukraine (ISMA), Lenin avenue, 60, Kharkov 61158, Ukraine
2. Institute for Single Crystals NAS of Ukraine (ISC), 60 Lenin Ave., Kharkov 61001, Ukraine


Materials based on compounds with common formulae REAO4 (RЕ – rare earth element,  A – element of the 5th group of Periodic table) are widely applied in optics, X-ray visualization and proposed for usage as scintillators for registration of X- and γ-rays [1, 2]. Rare earth orthotantalates due to high density from 7,8 g/cm3 for  LaTaO4 up to 9,75 g/cm3 for LuTaO4 can be considered as promising scintillators for high-energy physics. During recent 5 years materials based on yttrium tantalate-niobates with common formulae Y(Ta1-xNbx)O4 attracted great interest [3, 4] from both scientific and technical points of view.

In the present work, methods of obtaining, luminescent and scintillation properties of compounds with common formulae REAO4 (A=V, Ta and Nb) were explored. Optimal regimes of raw material solid-state synthesis were determined; content of the main phase after solid-state synthesis was up to 99%. Ceramic samples of both undoped orthotantalates (RETaO4)  and tantalate-niobates (RE(Ta1-xNbx)O4) and doped with familiar dopant (Eu, Pr и Ce) for scintillation materials were obtained. Single crystals of undoped orthovanadates (REVO4) were grown by Czochralski technique. Optimal regimes of after-growth annealing for elimination of oxygen vacancies forming during the crystal growth in inert atmosphere, were determined.

YVO4 and GdVO4 single crystals demonstrate light yield up to 11500 ph/MeV, energy resolution about 16 % at 662 KeV, and microsecond decay after X- and γ -radiation. Light yield increases by 3 – 5 times at lowering the temperatures down to 77 K.

Among orthotantalates, the biggest light yield is observed with YTaO4 and GdTaO4 (110 % and 43 % compared to BGO). Significant light yield is observed for Eu- and Pr- doped samples as well (for example, for GdTaO4:Eu light yield is 136 % compared to BGO). Orthotantalates demonstrate faster luminescence with decay times around 300 - 1000 ns.

With modifying of cation composition in yttrium and gadolinium tantalate-niobate samples  luminescent and scintillation characteristics of material significantly change. Light yield in some mixed compositions rises by up to 2 times compared to their constitutents. Brightest luminescence was observed for Eu-doped samples.


1. Patent WO 2008/094184 A3, publ. 07.08.2008.

2. O.V. Voloshina, V.N. Baumer, et al.,NIM A, 664 (2012) 299 – 303.

3. E.-J.Popovici, M. Nazarov, et al., Physics Procedia 2 (2009) 185–190.

4. I.D. Arellano, M.V.Nazarov, et al., J. of Lumin., 132 (2012) 2479–2483.


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Related papers

Presentation: Poster at 15th Summer School on Crystal Growth - ISSCG-15, by Olesia Voloshyna
See On-line Journal of 15th Summer School on Crystal Growth - ISSCG-15

Submitted: 2013-05-28 10:45
Revised:   2013-05-28 10:45