Miniature integrated nuclear detection system

Award Year 

Researchers at the Princeton Plasma Phys-ics Laboratory (PPPL) have developed a highly accurate and cost-effective nuclear detection system for antiterrorism applica-tions. Shortly after the terror attack of September 11, 2001, the Department of Energy (DOE) asked all of its laboratories to identify tech-nologies for antiterrorism applications. Using mostly off-the-shelf components, Charles Gentile and his colleagues in the PPPL Tri-tium Group configured a small portable and relatively inexpensive system to identify and locate the radioactive element tritium that (more) had been deposited throughout the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) vacuum cham-ber. Charles Gentile and his team realized that this system, which they had developed for PPPL’s fusion research effort, would be very useful for detecting and identifying spe-cific radionuclides suitable for use in a radio-logical dispersive device (RDD), commonly known as a “dirty bomb.” The PPPL system known as MINDS (minia-ture integrated nuclear detection system) is very small compared to other systems and has the distinct advantage of being able to differentiate between threatening and non-threatening materials, thereby signifi-cantly reducing false positives. MINDS has applications in transportation and site secu-rity, scanning moving vehicles, luggage, car-go vessels, and could be employed at work-place entrances, post offices, tollbooths, airports, commercial shipping ports, as well as in police cruisers, to detect the transpor-tation of RDD nuclear materials.The system has been transferred to a licens-ee, Insitech, Inc., a Partnership Intermediary representing the business interests of the Ar-mament Research, Development, and Engi-neering Center (ARDEC) located at the U.S. Army’s Picatinny Arsenal in Morris County, New Jersey. In turn, Insitech has sublicensed MINDS for use in a number of locations, in-cluding shipping containers at seaports. (less)