Radiation Portal Monitors

Research Focus Areas: 2

Ph.D. Students: M. Paff

Collaborators: European Commision Joint Research Centre, Ispra Italy

a person wearing a yellow hoodie using a device

To detect and deter the smuggling of special nuclear material and radiological sources, the United States has been pursuing a variety of policies that share one key commonality: the deployment of radiation portal monitors (RPMs). RPMs contain detectors that will alarm on the presence of neutrons and gamma-ray photons above natural background radiation levels. These systems are commonly deployed anywhere a large volume of people and goods traverse some bottleneck, like a border crossing.

The high incidence rate of RPM nuisance alarms caused by non-threatening sources of radiation, like cargo containing naturally occurring radioactive materials and recent nuclear medicine patients, is a concern. To address this issue we are developing new algorithms to allow our organic liquid scintillator-based RPM to perform on-the-fly radionuclide identification to distinguish threat materials from nuisance radiation sources. We have tested our prototypes on medical isotopes at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and on moving special nuclear material at the European Commission Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy.

Related Journal Articles:

  1. M. Paff, S. D. Clarke, S. A. Pozzi, “Organic liquid scintillation detector shape and volume impact on radiation portal monitors,” Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A, vol. 825, pp. 31-39, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nima.2016.03.102
  2. M. Paff, M. Ruch, A. Poitrasson-Riviere, A. Sagadevan, S. D. Clarke, S. A. Pozzi, “Organic Liquid Scintillation Detectors For On-The-Fly Neutron/Gamma Alarming And Radionuclide Identification In A Pedestrian Radiation Portal Monitor,” Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A, vol. 789, pp. 16-27, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nima.2015.03.088