Anna Pla-Dalmau is a prolific inventor at Fermilab, with several patents to her name. These patents relate to extruded plastic scintillator.
Plastic scintillators can be expensive given the labor-intensive nature of the manufacturing processes — like casting — required to produce them. The development of less expensive scintillators and associated production processes became a crucial consideration for building large-scale plastic scintillation detectors.
Because polystyrene is widely used in industry, Anna explored the extrusion of polystyrene pellets with dopants to yield high-quality plastic scintillator. The extrusion line built at Fermilab continues to produce high-quality extruded plastic scintillator for research institutions around the world.
Aaron Sauers is Fermilab’s patent and licensing executive.