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A scintillator is a material which exhibits the property of luminescence when excited by ionizing radiation. Luminescent materials, when struck by an incoming particle, absorb its energy and scintillate, i.e. reemit the absorbed energy in the form of a small flash of light, typically in the visible range.

 

Scintillation detector or scintillation counter is obtained when a scintillator is coupled to an electronic light sensor such as a photomultiplier tube or a photodiode

The first use of a scintillator dates back to an experiment in 1903 where Sir William Crooks observed a ZnS screen struck by α-particles.

Today, scintillation detectors are used in a wide array of applications, including fundamental research in particle and nuclear physics, oil exploration, field spectrometry, container and baggage scanning, health physics, space physics, industrial gauging, and medical diagnostics and therapy.

 
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