UNIST Improves Remote Detection of Hazardous Radioactive Substances

Research team for millimeter wave (MMW) based remote radioactive material detector.

Research team for millimeter wave (MMW) based remote radioactive material detector.

November 20, 2017 | Source: UNiST, news.unist.ac.kr, 19 May 2017, Joo Hyeon Heo

Researchers propose a new method that might be used to detect nuclear hazards from up to a few hundred meters away. The team described experimental demonstration of real-time radioactive material detection using a high-power pulsed millimeter-wave source. They successfully detected of 0.5 µg of cobalt-60 at a distance of 4 feet.

A recent study, affiliated with UNIST has introduced a method for the remote detection of hazardous radioactive substances. With the help of this newly-developed detection device, the detection of various types of radioactive materials can be done from a remote distance.

In their study, published in the May issue of the prestigious journal, Nature Communications, Professor Eunmi Choi of Natural Science and her team demonstrated a method with higher sensitivity that uses high-power pulsed electromagnetic-waves to detect a radioactive source.

Remote detection of radioactive materials is impossible when the measurement location is far from its source. Indeed, a typical radiation detectors, like Geiger-Muller counters have technical limitations in the remote detection of sources. For instance, they can detect 1 milli Curie (mCi) of Cobalt-60 (60Co) at a maximum distance of 3.5 metres, but are inefficient at measuring lower levels of radioactivity or at longer distances.

In the study, Professor Choi and her research team described the experimental demonstration of real-time radioactive material detection using a high-power pulsed millimetre-wave source. They demontrated the detection of 0.5 µg of cobalt-60 from 120 cm away, the maximum distance allowed by the laboratory setup.