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Mobile, Vehicle-Based Radiation Detection Systems Development

Traditionally, radiation detection and environmental surveying have been performed with handheld or stationary devices. In today's age, there is a higher concern for mobile threat sources such a "dirty bombs" and thus new techniques must be developed in order to efficiently survey and detect radiation sources in the field. Mobile, vehicle-mounted, radiation detection systems are being developed and deployed in order to effectively survey larger areas in shorter time periods as well as detect radiation within moving targets such as other vehicles or persons.


The purpose of this project is to design and characterize a vehicle-mounted radiation detection system in order to assess its effectiveness in the field. Specifically, the effects of additional detectors on the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) will be studied. Other considerations such as the effects of vehicle speed and variable backgrounds on the SNR will also be studied. There already exists several vehicle-mounted radiation detection systems, however it seems as if the SNR effects due to the number of detectors were not considered in any of the projects. A simple structure will be built in order to systematically load individual 2"x4"x16" sodium-iodide detectors into the back of a vehicle, essentially creating one detector with a controllable incremental volume. The system will be driven systematically around a placed radioactive field source using varying detector volumes and the results analyzed. In addition, software will be utilized to couple the detectors to a GPS for the purposes of producing a radiation map. This software may also be updated and improved as a part of this project.


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