Li6Y(BO3)(3):Ce crystal is a promising type of scintillator for neutron detection. In this study, the properties of Li6Y(BO3)(3):3at%Ce are studied, including its gamma sensitivity, neutron efficiency, alpha/gamma ratio, relative light yield, neutron pulse-height spectrum and decay time. Geant4 simulations indicate that its capture efficiency for thermal neutrons is as high as 78% for the natural abundances of the boron and lithium elements. The alpha/gamma ratio of Li6Y(BO3)(3):Ce is measured to be 0.03, which is 10 times lower than that of lithium glass. If the per-MeV light yield of lithium glass is defined to be 100, then the light yields generated by Li6Y(BO3)(3):Ce for gamma rays and alpha particles are 253.3 and 24.8, respectively, Under gamma-ray irradiation, the light yield of Li6Y(BO3)(3):Ce is approximately 6 times lower than that of NaI:Tl. In neutron detection, the neutron signal can be clearly distinguished from the backgrounds caused by the Cf-252 source itself. Li6Y(BO3)(3):Ce is also a fast scintillator, with decay times of 48.6 +/- 14.4 ns, 24.6 +/- 13.3 ns and 37.8 +/- 17.8 ns under irradiation with gamma rays, alpha particles and thermal neutrons, respectively. This study offers a systematic study of useful parameters of Li6Y(BO3)(3):3at%Ce crystal for application in and the improvement of neutron detection. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.