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24 September 2007 Field-deployable gamma-radiation detectors for DHS use
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Recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has integrated all nuclear detection research, development, testing, evaluation, acquisition, and operational support into a single office: the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO). The DNDO has specific requirements set for all commercial off-the-shelf and government off-the-shelf radiation detection equipment and data acquisition systems. This article would investigate several recent developments in field deployable gamma radiation detectors that are attempting to meet the DNDO specifications. Commercially available, transportable, handheld radio isotope identification devices (RIID) are inadequate for DHS' requirements in terms of sensitivity, resolution, response time, and reach-back capability. The leading commercial vendor manufacturing handheld gamma spectrometer in the United States is Thermo Electron Corporation. Thermo Electron's identiFINDERTM, which primarily uses sodium iodide crystals (3.18 x 2.54cm cylinders) as gamma detectors, has a Full-Width-at-Half-Maximum energy resolution of 7 percent at 662 keV. Thermo Electron has just recently come up with a reach-back capability patented as RadReachBackTM that enables emergency personnel to obtain real-time technical analysis of radiation samples they find in the field1. The current project has the goal to build a prototype handheld gamma spectrometer, equipped with a digital camera and an embedded cell phone to be used as an RIID with higher sensitivity, better resolution, and faster response time (able to detect the presence of gamma-emitting radio isotopes within 5 seconds of approach), which will make it useful as a field deployable tool. The handheld equipment continuously monitors the ambient gamma radiation, and, if it comes across any radiation anomalies with higher than normal gamma gross counts, it sets an alarm condition. When a substantial alarm level is reached, the system automatically triggers the saving of relevant spectral data and software-triggers the digital camera to take a snapshot. The spectral data including in situ analysis and the imagery data will be packaged in a suitable format and sent to a command post using an imbedded cell phone.
© (2007) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Sanjoy Mukhopadhyay "Field-deployable gamma-radiation detectors for DHS use", Proc. SPIE 6706, Hard X-Ray and Gamma-Ray Detector Physics IX, 670612 (24 September 2007);

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