Time-domain based evaluation of detection efficiency in liquid scintillation counting

Published in Scientific Reports, 2021

This work explores the distribution of time intervals between signals from the photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) of a liquid scintillation counting (LSC) system when a scintillation burst caused by an ionizing particle is detected. This distribution is termed the cross-correlation distribution and it is shown that it contains information about the probability to detect a scintillation event. A theoretical model that describes the cross-correlation distribution is derived. The model can be used to estimate the mean number of detected photons in a LSC measurement, which allows the calculation of the detection efficiency. The theoretical findings are validated by Monte Carlo simulations and by experiments with dedicated LSC systems and several commercial LSC cocktails. The results show that some of the parameters of the cross-correlation distribution such as the peak height or the kurtosis can be used as detection efficiency estimators or quenching indicators in LSC. Thus, although the time domain and the cross-correlation distribution have received little to no attention in the practice of LSC, they have the capacity to bring significant improvements in almost all LSC applications related to activity determination. The results also suggest concepts for

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