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10 May 2012 Improved thermal neutron activation sensor for detection of bulk explosives
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Defence R&D Canada - Suffield and Bubble Technology Industries have been developing thermal neutron activation (TNA) sensors for detection of buried bulk explosives since 1994. First generation sensors, employing an isotopic source and NaI(Tl) gamma ray detectors, were deployed by Canadian Forces in 2002 as confirmation sensors on the ILDS teleoperated, vehicle-mounted, multi-sensor anti-tank landmine detection systems. The first generation TNA could detect anti-tank mines buried 10 cm or less in no more than a minute, but deeper mines and those significantly displaced horizontally required considerably longer times. Mines as deep as 30 cm could be detected with long counting times (1000 s). The second generation TNA detector is being developed with a number of improvements aimed at increasing sensitivity and facilitating ease of operation. Among these are an electronic neutron generator to increase sensitivity for deeper and horizontally displaced explosives; LaBr3(Ce) scintillators, to improve time response and energy resolution; improved thermal and electronic stability; improved sensor head geometry to minimize spatial response nonuniformity; and more robust data processing. This improved sensitivity can translate to either decreased counting times, decreased minimum detectable explosive quantities, increased maximum sensor-to-target displacement, or a trade off among all three. Experiments to characterize the performance of the latest generation TNA in detecting buried landmines and IEDs hidden in culverts were conducted during 2011. This paper describes the second generation system. The experimental setup and methodology are detailed and preliminary comparisons between the performance of first and second generation systems are presented.
© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
John E. McFee, Anthony A. Faust, H. Robert Andrews, Edward T. H. Clifford, and Cristian M. Mosquera "Improved thermal neutron activation sensor for detection of bulk explosives", Proc. SPIE 8357, Detection and Sensing of Mines, Explosive Objects, and Obscured Targets XVII, 83570V (10 May 2012);


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