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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. Source

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. Source

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. Source

Gozani T.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc | Bendahan J.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc | King M.J.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc | Brown C.,Rapiscan Laboratories Inc | And 2 more authors.
IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science | Year: 2013

An adaptation of the differential die away (DDA) technique, which enhances the detection of fissile materials, has been developed and demonstrated in the laboratory. The differential time-of-flight (DTOF) technique applies to situations where special nuclear material (SNM) is located some distance (up to a few meters) away, is accessible from only one side, and is either bare or embedded in an environment that is slightly neutron moderating, and where the more conventional DDA pulsed neutron source technique is less effective. The technique is based on the fission reaction of thermal neutrons with fissile material, if present. The thermal neutrons are furnished by the moderation of neutrons from an electronic neutron generator (ENG). Fast neutrons are generated in relatively narrow pulses of tens to hundreds of microseconds. They are slowed down in a suitable moderator surrounding the source. The time of flight (TOF) of these neutrons, before arrival at the SNM, spreads over orders of magnitude due to the wide spread in their velocities, which lead to a time spread of the neutron-induced fission in the SNM. Neutron signatures resulting from the fissions, e.g., prompt fast neutrons (as well as few delayed neutrons) can then be detected by fast neutron detectors well after the original source neutrons have died away. © 1963-2012 IEEE. Source

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. Source

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