Light yield and thermal quenching of Ce<sup>3+</sup> and Pr<sup>3+</sup> co-doped LaBr<sub>3</sub>:Sm<sup>2+</sup> near-infrared scintillators

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Abstract

LaBr3:Ce3+ is a compound with excellent scintillation properties, but its ultraviolet emission does not match well with the detection efficiency curves of silicon based photodetectors. In this work, Sm2+ is studied as an activator for LaBr3 as its near-infrared emission can be detected with close to 100% efficiency by such photodetectors. LaBr3:Sm2+ single crystals were grown with and without co-doping of Ce3+ or Pr3+. The samples were studied by means of X-ray excited and photoluminescence spectroscopy at temperatures between 10 K and 300 K. Their spectroscopic properties are compared to LaBr3:Ce3+ and LaBr3:Eu2+. The effect of using Ce3+ or Pr3+ as scintillation sensitiser for Sm2+ is assessed. It is found that energy transfer from host to Sm2+ greatly improves upon Ce3+ co-doping, but the quenching temperature of the Sm2+ emission decreases. The quenching mechanism of both the Ce3+ and Sm2+ emission in LaBr3 is elaborated on. Furthermore, the effect of charge compensating defects on the light yield and spectroscopic properties is discussed.