A plastic scintillator consists of a solid solution of organic scintillating molecules in a polymerized solvent. Because of the ease with which they can be shaped and fabricated, plastic scintillators have become an extremely useful form of organic scintillator.
The scintillation emission of a typical plastic scintillator has a maximum around 400 nm. Plastic scintillators are characterized by a relatively large light output [typically 25-30% of NaI(Tl)] and a short decay time, on the order of a nanosecond. This makes the material well suited for fast timing measurements.
Plastics are often used for detection of charged particles, or when large-volume solid scintillators are needed. Because the density and atomic number are rather low, the material is not suited for gamma ray spectroscopy.
The exact emission wavelength and decay time depend on the type of organic activator and on the host material. A large number of different plastic scintillators are commercially available in a wide selection of standard sizes as rod, cylinder, or flat sheet.
For a list of plastic scintillator materials, click on Properties tab below: