Low background high efficiency radiocesium detection system based on positron emission tomography technology

Seiichi Yamamoto*, Yoshimune Ogata

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


After the 2011 nuclear power plant accident at Fukushima, radiocesium contamination in food became a serious concern in Japan. However, low background and high efficiency radiocesium detectors are expensive and huge, including semiconductor germanium detectors. To solve this problem, we developed a radiocesium detector by employing positron emission tomography (PET) technology. Because 134Cs emits two gamma photons (795 and 605 keV) within 5 ps, they can selectively be measured with coincidence. Such major environmental gamma photons as 40K (1.46 MeV) are single photon emitters and a coincidence measurement reduces the detection limit of radiocesium detectors. We arranged eight sets of Bi4Ge3O12 (BGO) scintillation detectors in double rings (four for each ring) and measured the coincidence between these detectors using PET data acquisition system. A 50 × 50 × 30 mm BGO was optically coupled to a 2 in. square photomultiplier tube (PMT). By measuring the coincidence, we eliminated most single gamma photons from the energy distribution and only detected those from 134Cs at an average efficiency of 12%. The minimum detectable concentration of the system for the 100 s acquisition time is less than half of the food monitor requirements in Japan (25 Bq/kg). These results show that the developed radiocesium detector based on PET technology is promising to detect low level radiocesium.

Original languageEnglish
Article number093507
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Sept
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation


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