Researchers Propose New Way of Detecting Concealed Radioactive Material

Researchers at the University of Maryland have proposed a scheme for detecting a concealed source of radioactive material without searching containers one by one. Detection of radioactive material concealed in shipping containers is important in the early prevention of "dirty" bomb construction. The concept, described in the Journal of Applied Physics, is based on the gamma-ray emission from the radioactive material that would pass through the shipping container walls and ionize the surrounding air.

The facilitated breakdown of the air in a focused beam of high-power, coherent, terahertz or infrared radiation would then be an indicator of the presence of the radioactive material. The gamma rays coming through the container walls could be detected by a pulsed electromagnetic source of duration between 10 ns to microseconds.

The team evaluated several candidate sources for this detection, including a 670-GHz gyrotron oscillator with 200-kW, 10-┬Ás output pulses and a TEA CO2 laser with 30-MW, 100-ns output pulses. A system based on the 670-GHz gyrotron would have enhanced sensitivity and a range exceeding 10 m.

  • Ahead of Current Events Ahead of Current Events

    In this episode, Ralph C. Jensen chats with Dana Barnes, president of global government at Dataminr. We talk about the evolution of Dataminr and how data software benefits business and personnel alike. Dataminr delivers the earliest warnings on high impact events and critical information far in advance of other sources, enabling faster response, more effective risk mitigation for both public and private sector organizations. Barnes recites Dataminr history and how their platform works. With so much emphasis on cybersecurity, Barnes goes into detail about his cybersecurity background and the measures Dataminr takes to ensure safe and secure implementation.

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  • Security Today Magazine - November December 2022

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