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The phenomenon of luminescence is the basis for the creation and development of scintillation methods for detecting ionizing radiation. When luminescence arises from the action of ionizing radiation, three main stages can be distinguished: absorption of the radiation energy and the transition of the body to a non-equilibrium state; the transformation of the energy received by the body, the emission of light (or the appearance of other optical effects) and the transition of the body to an equilibrium state. Based on luminescence (scintillation) the scintillation detectors with solid, liquid and gaseous scintillators have been developed. Scintillators are such substances that under the action of charged particles or long-wave electromagnetic radiation emit photons in the visible or ultraviolet part of the spectrum.
Scintillation detection methods for radiation are based on measuring the intensity of light that occur in luminescent substances during the passage therethrough of ionizing radiation.
The scintillation method has several advantages over other methods:
- high recording efficiency of radiation;
- short flashing time of scintillator. This provides high temporal resolution of scintillation counters or low dead time. Therefore, it is possible to measure intensive radiation fluxes and short-lived radionuclides;
- for a number of scintillators and certain radiation (α, β, γ) there is a proportionality between the amplitude of the light pulse and the particle energy which is convenient when using scintillation counters for the spectrometry of ionizing radiation.