Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Audio Spot: New imager can detect small, weak radiation sources

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Oct. 18, 2007 — Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have helped develop a vehicular instrument capable of locating small and weak radiation sources on a 100-meter stretch of land.

Oak Ridge design engineer Lorenzo Fabris says the vehicular instrument uses images to locate radiation spots and then maps the areas studied.

"We place lead in shields in front of the detectors so that the source will cast a unique shadow for a unique direction," Fabris says. "We can identify where the source was."

Oak Ridge's Klaus Ziock says the instrument can cover a much larger area to check for radiation than current detectors.

"In doing this, what it allows us to do is to make the detector larger," Ziock says. "We can then intercept more radiation and we can see the source from further and further away."

Collaborating with Oak Ridge on development of the Large Area Imager were Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the University of California Space Sciences Laboratory.

The imager recently earned an R&D 100 Award as one of 2007's most technologically significant new products.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.