Small Device Alerts Users to Nuclear Threats

By Eric Beidel
At least one function of homeland security has become easier to handle.

First responders have been using personal radiation detectors for a while, but most of these devices lack the ability to identify the source of the energy. After detection, security personnel often have to request another device to be delivered to the scene to identify the material.

Not anymore, say officials at FLIR Systems Inc., which has developed the nanoRaider. It is the size of a pager and can accurately identify even the most shielded of radioactive sources, they say. The precision of the device, which is based on cadmium zinc telluride semiconductor detectors, also can prevent false alarms that plague similar tools that come in contact with naturally occurring radiation in bananas, Brazil nuts, carrots, lima beans and other items. This sensitivity, likewise, lets a user know if an alarm is the result of an industrial source or someone who has received a medical treatment.

Like larger systems, it is able to identify special nuclear material used to make weapons such as uranium and plutonium isotopes.

Topics: Science and Engineering Technology, Land Forces

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