Absolute Light Yield of the EJ-204 Plastic Scintillator

Document Type


Publication Date



The absolute light yield of a scintillator, defined as the number of scintillation photons produced per unit energy deposited, is a useful quantity for scintillator development, research, and applications. Yet, literature data on the absolute light yield of organic scintillators are limited. The goal of this work is to assess the suitability of the EJ-204 plastic scintillator from Eljen Technology to serve as a reference standard for measurements of the absolute light yield of organic scintillators. Four EJ-204 samples were examined: two manufactured approximately four months prior and stored in high-purity nitrogen, and two aged approximately eleven years and stored in ambient air. The scintillator response was measured using a large-area avalanche photodiode calibrated using low energy -ray and X-ray sources. The product of the quantum efficiency of the photodetector and light collection efficiency of the housing was characterized using an experimentally-benchmarked optical photon simulation. The average absolute light yield of the fresh samples, 9100 ± 400 photons per MeV, is lower than the manufacturer-reported value of 10400 photons per MeV. Moreover, the aged samples demonstrated significantly lower light yields, deviating from the manufacturer specification by as much as 26%. These results are consistent with recent work showcasing environmental aging in plastic scintillators and suggest that experimenters should use caution when deploying plastic scintillators in photon counting applications.


The "Link to Full Text" on this page opens the article at the publisher website.

This is an Open Access article published by Elsevier and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Funding notes: This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC02-05CH11231 and the U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration through the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium under Award Nos. DE-NA0003180 and DE-NA0003996. The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development (DNN R&D).

Source Publication

Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment