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Additive manufacturing techniques enable a wide range of possibilities for novel radiation detectors spanning simple to highly complex geometries, multi-material composites, and metamaterials that are either impossible or cost prohibitive to produce using conventional methods. The present work identifies a set of promising formulations of photocurable scintillator resins capable of neutron-gamma pulse shape discrimination (PSD) to support the additive manufacturing of fast neutron detectors. The development of these resins utilizes a step-by-step, trial-and-error approach to identify different monomer and cross-linker combinations that meet the requirements for 3D printing followed by a 2-level factorial parameter study to optimize the radiation detection performance, including light yield, PSD, optical clarity, and hardness. The formulations resulted in hard, clear, PSD-capable plastic scintillators that were cured solid within 10 s using 405 nm light. The best-performing scintillator produced a light yield 83% of EJ-276 and a PSD figure of merit equaling 1.28 at 450–550 keVee.


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Funding note: This research was supported by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency under grant HDTRA1136911, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of High Energy Physics, under Award Number DE-AC05-00OR22725, and the ORNL Laboratory Directed Research Development Program.

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Journal of Nuclear Engineering