Scalable high-Z composites for efficient nuclear detection

Z. Yu
Florida State University, United States

Keywords: nuclear, radiation, sensors, 3D printing

America shares 7,000 miles of land border with Canada and Mexico, as well as rivers, lakes and coastal waters around the country. The borders are vital economic gateways that account for trillions of dollars in trade and travel every year. However, the borders have also posed a severe security risk to this country as avenues for trafficking of human, drugs and weapon of mass destruction. To the extreme, nuclear materials can be smuggled through the borders and used by terrorists to create nuclear weapons in this country. A plastic scintillator based on polyvinyl toluene (PVT) is the most common gamma ray detector used in Radiation portal monitors (RPMs). Such detectors indicate the presence of gamma radiation without providing much information about the energy of the gamma ray and its radiation source. Handheld radio-isotope identifier devices are then used to provide this identification step. This step is low efficiency and time consuming. We will present a new composites to replace the PVT plastic scintillators in the RPMs. One-step, active detection will be possible to identify nuclear threats in the borders much faster, more economically and accurately.