2014 R&D 100 Winner
Sandia National Laboratories' Triplet-Harvesting Plastic Scintillators (THPS)Scintillators help identify and differentiate fissionable nuclear materials from benign radioactive sources. The quest for improved radiation detection scintillators has a long history dating back to the early 1900s, and suitable materials have remained of immense interest for identifying and differentiating fissionable nuclear materials from benign radioactive sources. Organic scintillators are arguably the most useful class of scintillators for this task, but several deficiencies exist in current devices that limit their usefulness in real-world scenarios.

Sandia National Laboratories’ Triplet-Harvesting Plastic Scintillators (THPS) directly address these limitations by controlling all aspects of the detector response through specially designed light-harvesting dopants. These dopants generate controllable amounts of new luminescence that adds to the intrinsic light-yield response of the host material. Compared to existing materials, the THPS offer a 30% improvement in brightness, significantly faster timing response and unprecedented optical discrimination capabilities. The cost is also nearly 10 times less than the closest competing material. They enable, for the first time, the extraction of vital diagnostic information from mixed radiation fields.

Plastic scintillators

Sandia National Laboratories
Radiation Monitoring Devices

Development Team

Sandia National Laboratories' Triplet-Harvesting Plastic Scintillators (THPS) development team (l-r): Michael Foster, Mark Allendorf, Patrick Feng, F. Patrick Doty and Mitchell Anstey.














The Triplet-Harvesting Plastic Scintillators (THPS) Development Team
Patrick Feng, Principal Developer, Sandia National Laboratories
Mark D. Allendorf, Sandia National Laboratories
Mitchell R. Anstey, Sandia National Laboratories
F. Patrick Doty, Sandia National Laboratories
Michael E. Foster, Sandia National Laboratories
Khalid Hattar, Sandia National Laboratories
Ralph Page, Sandia National Laboratories
Kanai Shah, Radiation Monitoring Devices Inc.
Edgar van Loef, Radiation Monitoring Devices Inc.
Bryan M. Wong, Univ. of California, Riverside