Quenching measurements and modeling of a boron-loaded organic liquid scintillator

S. Westerdale, J. Xu, E. Shields, F. Froborg, F. Calaprice, T. Alexander, A. Aprahamian, H. O. Back, C. Casarella, X. Fang, Y. K. Gupta, E. Lamere, Q. Liu, S. Lyons, M. Smith, W. Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Organic liquid scintillators are used in a wide variety of applications in experimental nuclear and particle physics. Boron-loaded scintillators are particularly useful for detecting neutron captures, due to the high thermal neutron capture cross section of 10B. These scintillators are commonly used in neutron detectors, including the DarkSide-50 neutron veto, where the neutron may produce a signal when it scatters off protons in the scintillator or when it captures on 10B. Reconstructing the energy of these recoils is complicated by scintillation quenching. Understanding how nuclear recoils are quenched in these scintillators is an important and difficult problem. In this article, we present a set of measurements of neutron-induced proton recoils in a boron-loaded organic liquid scintillator at recoil energies ranging from 57-467 keV, and we compare these measurements to predictions from different quenching models. We find that a modified Birks' model whose denominator is quadratic in dE/dx best describes the measurements, with χ2/NDF=1.6. This result will help model nuclear recoil scintillation in similar detectors and can be used to improve their neutron tagging efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberP08002
JournalJournal of Instrumentation
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 3 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Mathematical Physics


  • Liquid detectors
  • Neutron detectors (cold, thermal, fast neutrons)
  • Radiation monitoring
  • Scintillators, scintillation and light emission processes (solid, gas and liquid scintillators)


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