Operation of scintillators and SiPMs at high temperatures and their application for borehole logging

A. Bala*, J. R. Brown, D. G. Jenkins, P. Joshi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gamma-ray detection is extensively used in borehole logging — a technique widely employed in oil and gas, and mineral exploration. The workhorse of this detection application for many years has been traditional NaI(Tl) scintillators coupled to photo-multiplier tubes (PMTs) which can provide the performance and energy resolution required in this application. PMTs are a well proven technology which can operate in the high temperature conditions (typically of order 100 °C) and pressures (10 MPa) encountered during logging activities. PMTs are, however, fragile in that they incorporate an evacuated tube. They also have a large form factor and require ancillary electronics such as a high-voltage supply meaning they occupy significant space within the borehole probe. It would be advantageous to have a compact replacement to allow additional instruments to be included within the borehole probe. Silicon photo-multipliers (SiPMs) are an attractive PMT replacement since they are robust, compact and operate at low voltage. However, SiPMs suffer from dark current which increases rapidly with temperature leading to increased noise and degraded energy resolution. We have evaluated CsI(Tl) scintillators coupled to standard 6 × 6 mm2 SiPMs from Hamamatsu and SensL as a function of temperature. We have shown that these prototypes operate effectively up to a temperature of 80 °C which could satisfy the requirements of some applications of borehole logging where the maximum temperature encountered is 75 °C.

Original languageEnglish
Article number165161
Number of pages7
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
Early online date19 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Sincere gratitude to Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Nigeria who fully funded this work. We acknowledge the support of Robertson Geologging, especially Paul Worthington who provided information on the context of gamma-ray detection in borehole logging. Aliyu Bala also acknowledges Robertson Geologging for hosting him at their headquarters for two weeks during 2018.

© 2021 Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.


  • Borehole logging
  • Gamma-ray spectrometry
  • Inorganic scintillators
  • Silicon photomultipliers

Cite this