BC-400, BC-404, BC-408, BC-412, BC-416

General Purpose

BC-408, BC-412 and BC-416 are plastic scintillators with the highest light output. These are also economical for use in large areas.

BC-400 and BC-404 plastic scintillators are largely used for alpha & beta detection. BC-404 can also be used in fast-counting applications.


  • BC-400: general-purpose, > 5MeV gamma rays, detects Alpha, Beta, Gamma rays and Fast Neutrons
    • BC-400B only scintillator material is offered as a thin film (less than 0.5mm)
      • The material is available in three thicknesses - 0.15mm, 0.20, 0.25mm
      • The largest size produced is 14"  long X 6" wide and a minimum area of 1" X 1"
  • BC-404: 1.8 ns time constant, fast counting, alphas, betas
  • BC-408: best general-purpose; used in Time-of-Flight (TOF) counters, large area, portals, <100keV X-rays, alphas, betas, charged particles, cosmic rays, muons, protons and neutrons. BC-408: best all-round performance
  • BC-412: longest attenuation length for large area and long strips, portal monitors, 100keV to 5MeV gamma rays, fast neutrons, charged particles, cosmic rays, muons, protons.
  • BC-416: Alphas, betas, charged particles, cosmic rays, muons, protons. BC-416: large area economy

Guide for Scintillator Selection

If the scintillator is thin (<2mm) and readout across this dimension, then the best choice is BC-400 and BC-404.  The reason being that they contain the highest concentrations of primary and WLS fluors so that the light is emitted at its final wavelength in a short distance.  The applications are thin films and alpha & beta detectors. Only BC-400B is offered as a thin film less than 0.5mm (available thickness: 0.15mm, 0.20, 0.25mm)

For anything thicker than 2mm, BC-408 is probably the best choice, because it combines good light yield, good light transmission, and a short decay time.  If the scintillator is very long, then BC-412 can be considered because of its better transmission length.  The trade-off is at a length of about 2.5 to 3 meters.  The longer emission spectrum of BC-412 means a longer attenuation length and a more uniform response. Uniformity is important for long strips in a colorimeter. For time-of-flight (TOF) counters, BC-408 is still generally preferred because of its faster decay time with almost equivalent transmission. We have made 5-meter TOF counters with BC-408.

BC-416 only need to be considered if buying a large volume of scintillator and trying to keep costs down.  It contains less fluors so its raw material costs are lower.  The light yield is also lower.

Very fast detectors, then BC-404, BC-418, BC-420, or BC-422. The choice here usually comes down to cost and scintillator size.

Contact us to review your specific application parameters and we can review options.



Scintillation Properties
  BC-400 BC-404 BC-408 BC-412 BC-416
Light Output, %Anthracene 65 68 64 60 38
Rise Time, ns 0.9 0.7 0.9 1 -
Decay Time (ns) 2.4 1.8 2.1 3.3 4
Pulse Width, FWHM, ns 2.7 2.2 ~2.5 4.2 5.3
Wavelength of Max. Emission, nm 423 408 425 434 434
Light Attenuation Length, cm* 160 140 210 210 210
Bulk Light Attenuation Length, cm 250 160 380 400 400
Atomic Composition          
No. H Atoms per cc (x1022) 5.23 5.21 5.23 5.23 5.23
No. C Atoms per cc (x1022) 4.74 4.74 4.74 4.74 4.74
Ratio H:C Atoms 1.103 1.1 1.104 1.104 1.104
No. of Electrons per cc (x1023) 3.37 3.37 3.37 3.37 3.37
*The typical 1/e attenuation length of a 1x20x200cm cast sheet with edges polished as measured with a bialkali photomultiplier tube coupled to one end.
Packaging Options
  • Supplied as cast sheets, rough cut or diamond milled
  • Polished rods

Additional enhancements:

  • Reflector and light tight wrapping
  • Light guides
  • Light sensors such as photomultiplier tubes (PMT) and silicon photomultipliers (SiPM)
  • Mu-metal light shield
  • Electronics
Size Range

These plastic scintillators can  be made in various shapes and size.

Standard cast sheet sizes:

  • 0.5 - 1 mm thick 30 x 60 cm (0.020 – 0.040” thick 11.81” x 23.62”)
  • 1.5 mm thick 30 x 101 cm (0.059” thick 11.81” x 39.76”)
  • 2 mm thick 45 x 101 cm (0.078” thick 17.72” x 39.76”)
  • 3 mm thick 63 x 101 cm (0.118” thick 24.8” x 39.76”)
  • 5, 6.4, 10, 12.7, 20, 25, 38 and 50 mm thick 63 x 203 cm (0.197”, 0.25”, 3.937”, 0.5”, 0.787”, 0.984”, 1.496”, 1.968” thick  24.8” X 79.92”)
  • 75, 100, 125, 150 mm thick 60 x 101 cm (2.953”, 3.937”, 4.921”, 5.906” thick 23.62” x 39.76”)

Special large cast sheet are available for thickness above 5mm thicknesses

BC-400B Thin Film is available in three thicknesses; 0.15, 0.20 and 0.25mm x largest size 150 x 350 mm.

General Technical Data
Base Polyvinyltoluene
Density [g/cc] 1.023
Expansion Coefficient (peroC,<67oC) 7.8X10-5
Refractive index 1.58
Softening Point 70°C
Vapor Pressure May be used in vacuum
Solubility Soluble in aromatic solvents, chlorinated solvents, acetone, etc. Unaffected by water, dilute acids, lower alcohols, alkalis and pure silicone fluids or grease.
Light Output At +60oC = 95% of that at+20oC. Independent of temperature from -60oC to +20oC