Homeland Security Applications of Radiological Detection

Homeland Security Applications of Radiological Detection

Cross functional teams at GE Research are demonstrating breakthrough applications of radiation detectors for homeland security applications. By integrating together sensitive radiation detectors from medical and industrial imaging with target tracking and sensor technologies the radiation detectors team has built systems that solve important challenges in security and defense.

In the Radiation Awareness and Interdiction Network (RAIN) program, funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO), the radiation detectors team built and demonstrated a system that can detect in real time radioactive materials concealed in vehicles moving at highway speeds. The system pictured below consists of multiple large volume scintillator detectors for high detection efficiency with custom designed large-area cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) detector arrays for superb energy resolution. Vehicles location is determined with millimeter resolution using a LiDAR scanner and real time imagery is captured with a video system.

In other homeland security programs the detectors team have developed hand held and portable CZT detector systems with directional detection capability based on Compton Imaging, with highly accurate isotope identification, real time orientation compensation and GPS.

All of systems developed at GE Research have real-time streaming to a computer base station for data collection. A web-based interface is provided for managing experimental data collection or for monitoring operations in the field. The software is based on open standards to enable porting to virtually any platform and scaling up, including cloud-based infrastructure.

Radiation detection system built at GE Research


Project Impact

The team created unique detection and isotope identification algorithms that combine the instantaneous location of the vehicle with the real time detection of gamma rays emitted from the radioactive materials to accurately attribute the radiation to the correct vehicle. State-of-the-art isotope identification algorithms determine which detection events are benign, such as medical isotopes and naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM), while retaining high sensitivity and extremely low false alarm rates for threat materials such as special nuclear material (SNM).

At a dedicated highway vehicle test facility, the detection and accurate ID of weak and shielded sources in vehicles travelling at speeds over 65 mph has been demonstrated.

Acknowledgment/Disclaimer: This work was conducted with the support of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under Award No. HSHQDC-14-C-B0047. However, any opinions, findings, conclusions or other recommendation expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. DHS.
  • Our Expertise

    Capabilities utilized for Homeland Security Applications of Radiological Detection project

  • Radiation Imaging

    Redefining what's possible in X-ray, CT and PET imaging to create innovative solutions for healthcare and industrial inspection

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  • Semiconductors

    Developing world-class semiconductor and detector technologies that offer differentiation in applications ranging from power conversion to radiation detection

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