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Mobile Device for Explosives Detection


Development of Methods and Building a Mobile Device for Explosives Detection

Tech Area / Field

  • INS-DET/Detection Devices/Instrumentation

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Kulikov G G

Leading Institute
Khlopin Radium Institute, Russia, St Petersburg


  • Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN), Italy, Padova\nOregon State University, USA, OR, Corvallis\nUniversity of Uppsala / Svedberg Laboratory, Sweden, Uppsala\nJyväskylä Science Park, Finland, Jyväskylä\nWestern Kentucky University / Applied Physics Institute, USA, OH, Bowling Green\nUniversity of Jyväskylä, Finland, Jyväskylä

Project summary

In recent years an uncontrolled proliferation of explosive substances (ES) has lead to their wide availability to terrorists. Multiple examples of explosions in subways, planes and other public places make it necessary to create an inexpensive mobile device for detection of ES hidden in transport and other containers, packages, luggage, etc.

Methods that rely on trained dogs or sensitive chemical compounds are ineffective in case of hermetically packed modern plastic explosives. The existing large and expensive set-ups that employ nuclear-based methods can be used only as stationary devices in big airports and office buildings.

The goals of the present project are:

- To develop an optimal method for reliable detection of ES in presence of consumer goods by using radioactive sources (252Cf, etc.). To increase the sensitivity, neutrons, gamma-rays and associated charged particles will be registered simultaneously.
- To devise and develop the method of ES detection hi presence of consumer goods, based on selective absorption of electromagnetic (EM) waves in ultra-high frequency (UHF) range. Determination of absorption lines and narrow bands in UHF range, which are characteristical of ES.
- To devise and develop the method of ES detection by using secondary characteristical radiation in UHF range, induced by EM or nuclear radiation.
- Development of a concept and building a functional prototype of a mobile device for ES detection, using a combination of the above methods. Determination of the sensitivity threshold and safety conditions.

Due to small size and high activity, radioactive sources are natural choice for a mobile ES-detecting device; however, radiation safety considerations may limit their usage. Modern technologies allow making emitters of EM waves small and safe. Hence, EM waves of UHF range seem to be more suitable for the purpose. However, when ES are hidden in metal containers, only the method with radioactive sources can be used. That is why we propose to employ both methods as complementary ones. They can also be used to detect other kinds of hidden substances (for example, drugs).

This Project will result hi building a functional prototype of a mobile device for detection of ES hi luggage, hidden wall cavities, transport, etc. The expected results have not only scientific, but also a commercial potential. The Project will also provide employment and long-tune perspectives for scientists, who were earlier engaged in weapons production.

The Project is open for foreign partners to participate. Foreign collaborators will visit our laboratory, discuss results, receive first-hand information of latest developments. We also hope to use the experience in suggesting ways for our investigations, analyzing obtained experimental data, and also hi mutual scientific and commercial using of the results of Project realization.


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