New X-ray Imaging Technique can improve Airport Screening

A new study has revealed that a new x-ray imaging technology can also screen nuclear material hidden inside baggage at airports.

The basic idea behind this new technology is to use the information available in best possible and through some other, never-before addressed, ways.

The current screeners deployed at most airports around the globe use information in the form of number of X-ray photons passing through an object to determine how many of the number of such photons transmitted were returned back from some object under screening. These devices, however, do not record the energy changes that have occurred in these photons when they bounce back from an object.

But if a spectral radiograph of any object under screening if to be formed every time a luggage such as a suitcase, for instance, is being screened can return an image that would be based on the average density of the objects being screened. This would clearly highlight nuclear substances such as lead, plutonium, iron and the likes due to their densities.  

Andrew Gilbert, nuclear engineer at the University of Texas, Austin and some of his colleagues had led the research at the Richland, Washington based Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where the discovery was made.
The researchers designed a layered system of cotton, steel and plutonium to study the way the physical and chemical parameters of these substances varied.

The technique is soon to be tested in real environments and it is then that the success of this technology could actually be determined.

The complete research study was published in Applied Physics, a well known physics Journal. 


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