Comparison of Characteristics of Gamma-Ray Imager Based on Coded Aperture by Varying the Thickness of the BGO Scintillator

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Background: The conventional cerium-doped Gd2Al2Ga3O12 (GAGG(Ce)) scintillator-based gamma-ray imager has a bulky detector, which can lead to incorrect positioning of the gamma-ray source if the shielding against background radiation is not appropriately designed. In addition, portability is important in complex environments such as inside nuclear power plants, yet existing gamma-ray imager based on a tungsten mask tends to be weighty and therefore difficult to handle. Motivated by the need to develop a system that is not sensitive to background radiation and is portable, we changed the material of the scintillator and the coded aperture. Materials and Methods: The existing GAGG(Ce) was replaced with Bi4Ge3O12 (BGO), a scintillator with high gamma-ray detection efficiency but low energy resolution, and replaced the tungsten (W) used in the existing coded aperture with lead (Pb). Each BGO scintillator is pixelated with 144 elements (12 × 12), and each pixel has an area of 4 mm × 4 mm and the scintillator thickness ranges from 5 to 20 mm (5, 10, and 20 mm). A coded aperture consisting of Pb with a thickness of 20 mm was applied to the BGO scintillators of all thicknesses. Results and Discussion: Spectroscopic characterization, imaging performance, and image quality evaluation revealed the 10 mm-thick BGO scintillators enabled the portable gamma-ray imager to deliver optimal performance. Although its performance is slightly inferior to that of existing GAGG(Ce)-based gamma-ray imager, the results confirmed that the manufacturing cost and the system’s overall weight can be reduced. Conclusion: Despite the spectral characteristics, imaging system performance, and image quality is slightly lower than that of GAGG(Ce), the results show that BGO scintillators are preferable for gamma-ray imaging systems in terms of cost and ease of deployment, and the proposed design is well worth applying to systems intended for use in areas that do not require high precision.




Park, S., Hammig, M. D., & Jeong, M. (2022). Comparison of Characteristics of Gamma-Ray Imager Based on Coded Aperture by Varying the Thickness of the BGO Scintillator. Journal of Radiation Protection and Research, 47(4), 214–225.

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