Security Notice

PPPL Technology Transfer




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  Miniature Integrated Nuclear Detection System (MINDS)

PPPL scientists have continued development of the Miniature Integrated Nuclear Detection System (MINDS), which is designed to detect and identify specific radionuclides for homeland security applications. The MINDS, which was funded under three WFO projects for Picatinny Arsenal has application for use by police, security personnel, the National Guard, the Coast Guard, and other agencies involved in homeland security, national security, or transportation rule compliance.

MINDS is configured to detect potential nuclear threats from a weapon of mass destruction or from nuclear contamination, such as a "dirty bomb." The objective is to detect and identify nuclear material entering a site, passing through a tollbooth, placed inside of a shipping container, or hidden in other ways, under realistic conditions. The full system, which employs mostly off-the-shelf components, will be capable of detecting x-rays, soft gammas, gammas, and neutrons. A major feature is the ability to compare the energy spectrum of the detected radionuclide with the spectrum of particular radiological materials that might be used in weapons. MINDS, which is designed to respond to nuclear signatures at levels slightly above normal background radiation, can be programmed to respond to specific signatures, thus eliminating false positive alarms resulting from the movement and transportation of approved radionuclides, such as medical shipments. The possibility of false positives is a major concern of security personnel.

An initial proof-of-principle demonstration was performed in August 2002, in which MINDS demonstrated the detection of small quantities of radionuclides in a stationary cargo-type shipping container. Additional demonstrations in 2003 showed MINDS' ability to detect similar material in a moving vehicle. In 2004, the MINDS system was improved with the introduction of a new neural-network-based detection algorithm. Also in 2004, a mobile configuration of MINDS was developed and demonstrated for law enforcement agencies and to representatives of Picatinny Arsenal, the New York/New Jersey Port Authority, the New Jersey Office of Counter Terrorism, the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Bridge and Tunnel Authority, and other State and municipal representatives.

In March 2005, the MINDS technology was licensed to InSitech for commercial development.

For more information: PPPL Digest, February 2006

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