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Alfonso K.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Elsalim M.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | King M.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Strellis D.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Gozani T.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc.
IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science | Year: 2013

MCNPX simulations have been used to guide the development of a portable inspection system for narcotics, explosives, and special nuclear material (SNM) detection. The system seeks to address these threats to national security by utilizing a high-yield, compact neutron source to actively interrogate the threats and produce characteristic signatures that can then be detected by radiation detectors. The portability of the system enables rapid deployment and proximity to threats concealed in small spaces. Both dD and dT electronic neutron generators (ENG) were used to interrogate ammonium nitrate fuel oil (ANFO) and cocaine hydrochloride, and the detector response of NaI, CsI, and LaBr3 were compared. The effect of tungsten shielding on the neutron flux in the gamma ray detectors was investigated, while carbon, beryllium, and polyethylene ENG moderator materials were optimized by determining the reaction rate density in the threats. In order to benchmark the modeling results, experimental measurements are compared with MCNPX simulations. In addition, the efficiency and die-away time of a portable differential die-away analysis (DDAA) detector using 3He proportional counters for SNM detection has been determined. © 1963-2012 IEEE.

Stevenson J.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Gozani T.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Elsalim M.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Condron C.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Brown C.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment | Year: 2011

Rapiscan Systems is developing a LINAC based cargo inspection system for detection of special nuclear material (SNM) in cargo containers. The system, called Photofission Based Alarm Resolution (PBAR) is being developed under a DHD/DNDO Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) program. The PBAR system is based on the Rapiscan Eagle P9000 X-ray system, which is a portal system with a commercial 9 MeV LINAC X-ray source. For the purposes of the DNDO ATD program, a conveyor system was installed in the portal to allow scanning and precise positioning of 20 ft ISO cargo containers. The system uses a two step inspection process. In the first step, the basic scan, the container is quickly and completely inspected using two independent radiography arrays: the conventional primary array with high spatial resolution and a lower resolution spectroscopic array employing the novel Z-Spec method. The primary array uses cadmium tungstate (CdWO4) detectors with conventional current mode readouts using photodiodes. The Z-Spec array uses small plastic scintillators capable of performing very fast (up to 108 cps) gamma-ray spectroscopy. The two radiography arrays are used to locate high-Z objects in the image such as lead, tungsten, uranium, which could be potential shielding materials as well as SNM itself. In the current system, the Z-Spec works by measuring the energy spectrum of transmitted X-rays. For high-Z materials the higher end of the energy spectrum is more attenuated than for low-Z materials and thus has a lower mean energy and a narrower width than low- and medium-Z materials. The second step in the inspection process is the direct scan or alarm clearing scan. In this step, areas of the container image, which were identified as high Z, are re-inspected. This is done by precisely repositioning the container to the location of the high-Z object and performing a stationary irradiation of the area with X-ray beam. Since there are a large number of photons in the 9 MV Bremsstrahlung spectrum above the photofission threshold of about 6 MeV, the X-ray beam induces numerous fissions if nuclear material is present. The PBAR system looks for the two most prolific fission signatures to confirm the presence of special nuclear materials (SNM). These are prompt neutrons and delayed gamma rays. The PBAR system uses arrays of two types of fast and highly efficient gamma ray detectors: plastic and fluorocarbon scintillators. The latter serves as a detector of fission prompt neutrons using the novel threshold activation detector (TAD) concept as well as a very efficient delayed gamma ray detector. The major advantage of TAD for detecting the prompt neutrons is its insensitivity to the intense source related backgrounds. The current status of the system and experimental results will be shown and discussed. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Langeveld W.G.J.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Condron C.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Elsalim M.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Ingle M.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment | Year: 2011

We introduce Noise Spectroscopy (NS) and show the results of an analysis of three data-sets demonstrating the feasibility of this technique. The NS effect is first shown to be present in a set of X-ray radiography images of low- and high-Z materials taken using the 6 MV Rapiscan Eagle P60HP portal cargo inspection system. Image-Based NS is, however, relatively insensitive. Using a data-set obtained using a fast plastic scintillator and photo-multiplier tube (PMT), we demonstrate that NS works very well when using fast detectors, fast electronics and waveform digitization. Another data-set was taken using LutetiumYttrium Ortho-Silicate (LYSO), which is suitable for use in X-ray cargo radiography. Although LYSO is slower than plastic scintillator, it was shown that NS also works very well using this material, paving the way for NS to be implemented using the primary imaging array of X-ray cargo inspection systems. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Gozani T.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Shaw T.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | King M.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc.
AIP Conference Proceedings | Year: 2011

Intense neutron sources are essential for cargo inspection for a broad range of threats from explosives, to contraband, to nuclear materials and especially SNM (Special Nuclear Materials). To be effective over a wide range of cargo materials, in particular for hydrogenous cargo such as food, and to offer practical inspection times, the neutron source must be very strong, typically >1010 neutrons per second. Unfortunately there are currently no reasonably compact and economical neutron generators with the required intensities. The insufficiency and inadequacy of intense neutron sources are especially conspicuous in the ≤2.5 MeV range (low voltage (d,D) generator). This energy range is needed if the strong signature of prompt fission neutrons (≈3 per fission) is to be detected and discerned from the numerous source neutrons. The photonuclear reactions of x-rays from commercial linacs in appropriate converters can provide ample intensities of neutrons. These converters have a very low (γ,n) energy threshold: 1.67 MeV for beryllium and 2.23 MeV for deuterium. The intense x-ray beams provided by commercial x-ray systems, more than compensate for the relatively low (γ,n) cross-sections which are in the milli-barn range. The choice of converter material, the geometrical shape, dimensions and location relative to the x-ray source, determine the efficiency of the neutron conversion. For electron accelerators with less than 10 MeV, the preferred converters, Be and D2O, are also very good neutron moderators. Thus, while increasing the converters' thickness leads to an increase in the overall neutron yield, this causes the softening of the neutron spectrum, which reduces the neutron penetration especially in hydrogenous cargos. Photoneutron sources can be optimized to meet specific needs such as maximum fission signals in various cargo materials of interest. Efficient photoneutron sources with different energy spectra were investigated. Conversion efficiency of more than 10-4 neutron per 9 MeV electron yielding neutron intensities of more than 1011 n/s for commercial 100 μAmp electron accelerators has been modeled and designed. The simulation was validated in laboratory experiments using small Be and D2O converters. © 2011 American Institute of Physics.

Gozani T.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Stevenson J.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | King M.J.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment | Year: 2011

Prompt fission neutrons are one of the strongest signatures of the fission process. Depending on the fission inducing radiation, their average number ranges from 2.5 to 4 neutrons per fission. They are more energetic and abundant, by about 2 orders of magnitude, than the delayed neutrons (≈3 vs. ≈0.01) that are commonly used as indicators for the presence of fissionable materials. The detection of fission prompt neutrons, however, has to be done in the presence of extremely intense probing radiation that stimulated them. During irradiation, the fission stimulation radiation, X-rays or neutrons, overwhelms the neutron detectors and temporarily incapacitate them. Consequently, by the time the detectors recover from the source radiation, fission prompt neutrons are no longer emitted. In order to measure the prompt fission signatures under these circumstances, special measures are usually taken with the detectors such as heavy shielding with collimation, use of inefficient geometries, high pulse height bias and gamma-neutron separation via pulse-shape discrimination with an appropriate organic scintillator. These attempts to shield the detector from the flash of radiation result in a major loss of sensitivity. It can lead to a complete inability to detect the fission prompt neutrons. In order to overcome the blinding induced background from the source radiation, the detection of prompt fission neutrons needs to occur long after the fission event and after the detector has fully recovered from the source overload. A new approach to achieve this is to detect the delayed activation induced by the fission neutrons. The approach demonstrates a good sensitivity in adverse overload situations (gamma and neutron flash) where fission prompt neutrons could normally not be detected. The new approach achieves the required temporal separation between the detection of prompt neutrons and the detector overload by the neutron activation of the detector material. The technique, called Threshold Activation Detection (TAD), is to utilize appropriate substances that can be selectively activated by the fission neutrons and not by the source radiation and then measure the radioactively decaying activation products (typically beta and gamma rays) well after the source pulse. The activation material should possess certain properties: a suitable half-life of the order of seconds; an energy threshold below which the numerous source neutrons will not activate it (e.g., 3 MeV); easily detectable activation products (typically >1 MeV beta and gamma rays) and have a usable cross-section for the selected reaction. Ideally the substance would be a part of the scintillator. There are several good material candidates for the TAD, including fluorine, which is a major constituent of available scintillators such as BaF2, CaF 2 and hydrogen free liquid fluorocarbon. Thus the fluorine activation products, in particular the beta particles, can be measured with a very high efficiency in the detector. The principles, applications and experimental results obtained with the fluorine based TAD are discussed. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Brown C.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Gozani T.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Shaw T.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Stevenson J.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment | Year: 2011

In the search for concealed special nuclear materials (SNM) there are a number of fission specific signatures that can be measured. These include prompt and delayed neutron and gamma ray signatures. Here the focus will be on the delayed gamma signature with the assumption that a pulsed electron linac with a constant peak current will be used to generate bremsstrahlung radiation and induce photofission in 235U. In this case, the signal to background ratio (S/B) will depend on the choice of linac frequency, pulse mode, and active background due to linac activation products. The linac frequency is simply the rate at which it produces short bursts of radiation, typically 24 μs in duration. There are two pulse modes, micro-pulsing, and macro-pulsing. In the micro-pulsing mode, the linac runs continuously at its set frequency and data is collected between bursts. In the macro-pulsing mode, the linac is turned on for a given length of time, on the order of seconds, and then turned off for a period of time typically equal to the length of time it was turned on. Counting takes place during the time the linac is off and stops when the linac is turned on for another cycle. The time dependence of the delayed gamma population can be approximated by the use of 5 time groups with half-lives of 0.29, 1.7, 13, 100, and 940 s, respectively. Each group has its own relative population, which together with its half-life determines what time frame the group contributes most to the measured signal. For example, a group with a short half-life will contribute more signal to a short cycle macro pulsed measurement than it would to a macro pulse measurement with a very long cycle. An analytical expression can be derived that calculates the maximum obtainable signal (delayed gamma photons per fission gamma ray) in either a micro- or macro-pulsed measurement. Using this information along with the observed active background present in a given situation (which can constrain the micro-pulsing parameters), the preferred mode of operation can be chosen to maximize S/B and the detection sensitivity. The principles and experimental application of the optimization process will be shown. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Langeveld W.G.J.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Gozani T.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Ryge P.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | Sinha S.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc. | And 2 more authors.
AIP Conference Proceedings | Year: 2013

The bremsstrahlung x-ray spectrum used in high-energy, high-intensity x-ray cargo inspection systems is attenuated and modified by the materials in the cargo in a Z-dependent way. Therefore, spectroscopy of the detected x rays yields information about the Z of the x-rayed cargo material. It has previously been shown that such ZSpectroscopy (Z-SPEC) is possible under certain circumstances. A statistical approach, Z-SCAN (Z-determination by Statistical Count-rate ANalysis), has also been shown to be effective, and it can be used either by itself or in conjunction with Z-SPEC when the x-ray count rate is too high for individual x-ray spectroscopy. Both techniques require fast x-ray detectors and fast digitization electronics. It is desirable (and possible) to combine all techniques, including x-ray imaging of the cargo, in a single detector array, to reduce costs, weight, and overall complexity. In this paper, we take a whole-system approach to x-ray spectroscopy in x-ray cargo inspection systems, and show how the various parts interact with one another. Faster detectors and read-out electronics are beneficial for both techniques. A higher duty-factor x-ray source allows lower instantaneous count rates at the same overall x-ray intensity, improving the range of applicability of Z-SPEC in particular. Using an intensity-modulated advanced x-ray source (IMAXS) allows reducing the x-ray count rate for cargoes with higher transmission, and a stacked-detector approach may help material discrimination for the lowest attenuations. Image processing and segmentation allow derivation of results for entire objects, and subtraction of backgrounds. We discuss R&D performed under a number of different programs, showing progress made in each of the interacting subsystems. We discuss results of studies into faster scintillation detectors, including ZnO, BaF2 and PbWO4, as well as suitable photo-detectors, read-out and digitization electronics. We discuss high-duty-factor linear-accelerator x-ray sources and their associated requirements, and how such sources improve spectroscopic techniques. We further discuss how image processing techniques help in correcting for backgrounds and overlapping materials. In sum, we present an integrated picture of how to optimize a cargo inspection system for x-ray spectroscopy. © 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.

Gozani T.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc.
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2011

Nuclear based explosive inspection techniques can detect a wide range of substances of importance for a wide range of objectives. For national and international security it is mainly the detection of nuclear materials, explosives and narcotic threats. For Customs Services it is also cargo characterization for shipment control and customs duties. For the military and other law enforcement agencies it could be the detection and/or validation of the presence of explosive mines, improvised explosive devices (IED) and unexploded ordnances (UXO). The inspection is generally based on the nuclear interactions of the neutrons (or high energy photons) with the various nuclides present and the detection of resultant characteristic emissions. These can be discrete gamma lines resulting from the thermal neutron capture process (n,γ) or inelastic neutron scattering (n,n'γ) occurring with fast neutrons. The two types of reactions are generally complementary. The capture process provides energetic and highly penetrating gamma rays in most inorganic substances and in hydrogen, while fast neutron inelastic scattering provides relatively strong gamma-ray signatures in light elements such as carbon and oxygen. In some specific important cases unique signatures are provided by the neutron capture process in light elements such as nitrogen, where unusually high-energy gamma ray is produced. This forms the basis for key explosive detection techniques. In some cases the elastically scattered source (of mono-energetic) neutrons may provide information on the atomic weight of the scattering elements. The detection of nuclear materials, both fissionable (e.g., 238U) and fissile (e.g., 235U), are generally based on the fissions induced by the probing neutrons (or photons) and detecting one or more of the unique signatures of the fission process. These include prompt and delayed neutrons and gamma rays. These signatures are not discrete in energy (typically they are continua) but temporally and energetically significantly different from the background, thus making them readily distinguishable. The penetrability of neutrons as probes and signatures as well as the gamma ray signatures make neutron interrogation applicable to the inspection of large conveyances such as cars, trucks, marine containers and also smaller objects like explosive mines concealed in the ground. The application of nuclear interrogation techniques greatly depends on operational requirements. For example explosive mines and IED detection clearly require one-sided inspection, which excludes transmission based inspection (e.g., transmission radiography) and greatly limits others. The technologies developed over the last decades are now being implemented with good results. Further advances have been made over the last several years that increase the sensitivity, applicability and robustness of these systems. The principle, applications and status of neutron-based inspection techniques will be reviewed. © 2011 SPIE.

Gozani T.,1050 Harriet St. | King M.J.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment | Year: 2016

Extension of the well-established Differential Die Away Analysis (DDAA) into a faster time domain, where more penetrating epithermal neutrons induce fissions, is proposed and demonstrated via simulations and experiments. In the proposed method the fissions stimulated by thermal, epithermal and even higher-energy neutrons are measured after injection of a narrow pulse of high-energy 14 MeV (d,T) or 2.5 MeV (d,D) source neutrons, appropriately moderated. The ability to measure these fissions stems from the inherent correlation of neutron energy and time ("E-T" correlation) during the process of slowing down of high-energy source neutrons in common moderating materials such as hydrogenous compounds (e.g., polyethylene), heavy water, beryllium and graphite. The kinetic behavior following injection of a delta-function-shaped pulse (in time) of 14 MeV neutrons into such moderators is studied employing MCNPX simulations and, when applicable, some simple "one-group" models. These calculations served as a guide for the design of a source moderator which was used in experiments. Qualitative relationships between slowing-down time after the pulse and the prevailing neutron energy are discussed. A laboratory system consisting of a 14 MeV neutron generator, a polyethylene-reflected Be moderator, a liquid scintillator with pulse-shape discrimination (PSD) and a two-parameter E-T data acquisition system was set up to measure prompt neutron and delayed gamma-ray fission signatures in a 19.5% enriched LEU sample. The measured time behavior of thermal and epithermal neutron fission signals agreed well with the detailed simulations. The laboratory system can readily be redesigned and deployed as a mobile inspection system for SNM in, e.g., cars and vans. A strong pulsed neutron generator with narrow pulse (<75 ns) at a reasonably high pulse frequency could make the high-energy neutron induced fission modality a realizable SNM detection technique. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Benetti B.,Advanced Design Services Corporation | Langeveld W.G.J.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc.
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2013

Noise Spectroscopy, a.k.a. Z-determination by Statistical Count-rate ANalysis (Z-SCAN), is a statistical technique to determine a quantity called the noise figure from digitized waveforms of pulses of transmitted x-rays in cargo inspection systems. Depending only on quantities related to the x-ray energies, it measures a characteristic of the transmitted x-ray spectrum, which depends on the atomic number, Z, of the material penetrated. The noise figure can thus be used for material separation. In an 80-detector prototype, scintillators are used with large-area photodiodes biased at 80V and digitized using 50-MSPS 12-bit ADC boards. We present an ultra-compact low-noise preamplifier design, with one high-gain and one low-gain channel per detector for improved dynamic range. To achieve adequate detection sensitivity and spatial resolution each dual-gain preamplifier channel must fit within a 12.7 mm wide circuit board footprint and maintain adequate noise immunity to conducted and radiated interference from adjacent channels. The novel design included iterative SPICE analysis of transient response, dynamic range, frequency response, and noise analysis to optimize the selection and configuration of amplifiers and filter response. We discuss low-noise active and passive components and low-noise techniques for circuit board layout that are essential to achieving the design goals, and how the completed circuit board performed in comparison to the predicted responses. © 2013 SPIE.

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