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Acrylic loaded with gadolinium nano-grains

GadoliniumHigh efficiencyHybrid thermoplasticNano-grainsNeutron detector


Procedure for obtaining high thickness plexiglass plates, loaded with gadolinium oxide nano-grains in high concentration. The procedure allows to produce a hybrid material capable of moderating and capturing neutrons with high efficiency.

Technical features

In the context of developing a neutron detector, a procedure was invented to obtain 20 centimeters thick plates of plexiglass, loaded with gadolinium oxide nano-grains.

A colloidal dispersion of nano grains is created within the starting monomer, followed by a particular polymerization procedure. To obtain a uniform distribution of gadolinium oxide in high concentration, greater than 1% by mass, the surface of the nano particles is treated, in such a way as to minimize the formation of aggregates and prevent their sedimentation. A hybrid plastic material is thus obtained, with a uniform gadolinium distribution, with excellent mechanical properties, in particular good resistance to traction and scratching. Furthermore, the material is easily workable, can be thermoformed and is resistant to cryogenic temperatures.

The simplicity and flexibility of the procedure make it possible to produce the material also in an industrial plant, on a large scale. Finally, it is possible, for specific applications such as rare event physics experiments, to produce the plastic with extremely low radio-purity levels.

Possible Applications

  • High efficiency neutron detectors
  • Dark matter experiments
  • Environmental and nuclear reactor monitoring
  • Control of nuclear non-proliferation
  • Control systems of machines for oncological hadrontherapy or medical physics


  • Gadolinium integrated in the plastic material
  • Maximum flexibility in shape and size
  • Easy to work with
  • Resistant to cryogenic temperatures
  • High radio-purity
  • Economical to build