13 August 2002 Neutron albedo imager for land mine detection
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Abstract
Neutron albedo land mine detection involves irradiating the ground with fast neutrons and subsequently detecting the thermalized neutrons which return. This technique has been studied since the 1950's, but only using non-imaging detectors. Without imaging, natural variations in hydrogen content in the soil, chiefly due to moisture, and surface irregularities, produce enough false alarms to render the method impractical in all but the driest conditions. This paper describes research to design and build a prototype landmine detector based on neutron albedo imaging. Realistic Monte Carlo simulations were performed to assess the signal-to-noise ratio for various soil types and moisture contents, assuming a perfect two dimensional neutron imaging system. The study showed that a neutron albedo imager was feasible for mine detection and that image quality could be good enough to significantly improve detector performance and reduce false alarm rates compared to non-imaging albedo detection, particularly in moist soils and where surface irregularities exist. After reviewing various neutron detector technologies, a design concept was developed. It consisted of a novel thermal neutron imaging system, a unique neutron source to uniformly irradiate the underlying ground and hardware and software for image generation and enhancement. Performance capability, including spatial resolution and detection times, were estimated by modeling. A proof-of-principle imager is now being constructed with an expected completion date of Spring 2002. The detector design is described and preliminary results are discussed.
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John E. McFee, John E. McFee, H. Robert Andrews, H. Robert Andrews, Harry Ing, Harry Ing, Thomas Cousins, Thomas Cousins, Anthony A. Faust, Anthony A. Faust, Dean S. Haslip, Dean S. Haslip, "Neutron albedo imager for land mine detection", Proc. SPIE 4742, Detection and Remediation Technologies for Mines and Minelike Targets VII, (13 August 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.479121; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.479121
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