LYSO crystal scintillators

Hi! Some time ago I’ve bought some 4x4x22mm LYSO Crystals to make a scintillation probe or just to test they.

From the manufacture:

LYSO crystal is an ideal generation scintillator crystal. LYSO (Cerium-doped Lutetium Yttrium Orthosilicate). LYSO crystal has the advantages of high light output and density, quick decay time, excellent energy resolution and low cost. These properties make LYSO an ideal candidate for a range of ray detection applications in nuclear physics and nuclear medicine, which require higher, improved timing resolution and superior energy resolution. “

The seller on ebay is the well know: “The Rad Lab”. For 12$ I’ve received 2 crystals. They are for sure intended to use into a proton emission tomography machine “PET”. More docs from Saint Gobain:

LYSO datasheet  NextGen LYSO


The Rad Lab LYSO Crystals

Some more info about this type of crystal:


Crystals in their package

I think this crystals are from a PET machine who was scrapped… but hey, they works great! Take a look at how they react when are exposed to some UV light.

LYSO crystals under UV light

This type of scintillator crystal is a bit radioactive because of Lu176 inside it. That’s makes it a nice calibration source for my spectrometer,

I’ve made this gamma ray spectrum of my LYSO crystals. To make it I’ve used PMT R6095 + 30x30mm NaI(Ti) scintillator at 8% FWHM. Peaks of Lu176 at 201.8keV and 306.8keV

LYSO: this is a recording in a XML file of this spectrum. To be used with BecqMoni2011 software.

LYSO gamma ray spectrum

NaI(Tl) Crystal scintillator

This type of scintillator material is the best one that an hobbist could afford. At the moment NaI(Tl) crystals are easy to find on eBay from russian or ukrainian sellers. Take care that NaI(Tl) are highly higroscopic and if they absorb too much water they turn color to yellow than brown and finaly their light output drop to unusable level. As the majority of the scintillation materials, they are used coupled with a photomultiplier tube for Gamma Spectroscopy.

Gamma Spectroscopy probe

Some pics of my gamma-spectrometer crystal + PMT probe.

A 25mm diameter NaI(Tl) crystal mounted on my gamma-spectrometer probe.
NaI(Tl) + PMT inside an alluminium enlosure + Madexp USB PMT adapter measuring a radioactive source
A 10mm NaI(Tl) crystal with it’s alluminium enclosure, packaging and datasheet
NaI(Tl) crystal optical window

BC408 BC412 Plastic scintillators from Bicron

Some weeks ago I’ve bought from an US eBayer some cilindrical shaped plastic scintillators. From wikipedia “A scintillator is a material that exhibits scintillation — the property of luminescence,[1] when excited by ionizing radiation. Luminescent materials, when struck by an incoming particle, absorb its energy and scintillate”. This means that you can make a very  sensible radiation counter using a scintillation material coupled with a PMT to detect his ligh pulses.

Scintillation probe
Gamma Spectroscopy / scintillation probe

One is 1” diameter made of BC408, the other is 1-1/2″ of BC412.


This type of scintillators are very easy to use and cople to a photomultiplier tube, they just need some silicone coupling gel and a proper light tight enclosure to work. I’ve bought some otical coupling silicone too.

Optical coupling silicone

A simple way to determine that this pieces of plastic will work is to test with some UV light. If they are sensible to radiations they are sensible to UV too.

Some tech info about this type of plastic scintillators.


Here you can download the complete datasheet: sgc-bc400-404-408-412-416-data-sheet

SV500 Geiger counter from German Army

Hi everyone, today I’m writing about my new SV500 Geiger counter from German Army. Mine was bought from a german eBay seller specialized in surplus measuring equipment. I’ve bought it for 145€ plus shipping. Nice price!

eBay auction of the SV500

The SV500 that I’ve received have included the internal gamma probe, the external gamma + beta probe, a probe clamp, probe cable, battery extension cable and earpiece.


I’ve read a lot of reviews around internet about this counter. Most if not all of they tell that this counter is very insensitive.

This is absolutely BULLSHIT! If peole doesn’t have true radioactive sources like a piece of Pechblende or a sample of Radium… why they bought such a counter? This one is intended to be used on a nuclear war combat field. The smallest scale of the instrument could tell you if what you are prone to eat is radioactive or not and, carried around with you, it will beep with it’s selectable alarm if you are aproaching a dangerouse contamined zone.

It’s an instrument made to keep you alive not to measure micro Sieverts from Radon in your room or thorium in your camera’s lens.

SV500 in action measuring Pechblende

In this pic you can see that my Pechblende reach 15 milliRad/h of beta+gamma on direct contact with the probe.

Cables and connectors
Left side pocket: battery and internal gamma probe
View of the counter, closed

I could ounly recomend this counter, if you find one at a good price in good condition, buy it! Mine have a calibration mark on the back, it was calibrated in year 2008 so 9 years ago… at the moment it is my best calibrated instrument he he he.

I’ve made a video of it in action:

Some other images of the counter:

Front pannel
Backlight in operation
External gamma probe
External gamma probe with beta window opened
Front pannel and connectors
Battery holder