New levels of radiation detection sensitivity reached with a versatile scintillating nano-material for applications including defense-threat

Value Proposition

Real-time radiation detection with accurate dosimeters is of growing concern among threats of nuclear terrorism and our increased use of radiating materials. Inorganic scintillators are traditionally relied on for detection, yet those that are currently available are limiting. The non-linear response of these scintillators makes calibrations difficult, leading to less accurate radiation measurements. They display many additional inconvenient characteristics including requiring large spatial dimensions, a dependence on cryogenic cooling, high limits of detection, and sensing elements that are hygroscopic. There is a need for accessible scintillators that can accurately respond to a range of radiation, including small doses, in real-time.


Duke inventors have developed a highly versatile platform that could be used to detect radiation by coating a range of materials or objects, including down to nano-scale dimensions. The linear response allows for accurate measurements in real-time, and the process to make the nano-scintillators is easy, cheap, and durable. One could imagine developing this technology with a wide variety of objects, materials, and locations to achieve radiation detection.


  • Highly versatile
  • Easily calibrated allowing for accurate real-time radiation data
  • Low limit of detection with high resolution
  • Adaptable sensor for many platforms
  • Reduced costs