Alternative Signature Detectors for Long Range Nuclear Material Identification

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Defense Threat Reduction Agency
Contract: HDTRA119C0011
Agency Tracking Number: T2-0328
Amount: $999,658.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: DTRA162-003
Solicitation Number: 2016.2
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2016
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-02-06
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-02-05
Small Business Information
44 Hunt Street, Watertown, MA, 02472
DUNS: 073804411
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 James Christian
 (617) 668-6897
 jchristian@rmdinc.com
Business Contact
 Kanai Shah
Phone: (617) 668-6801
Email: kshah@rmdinc.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
Increasing the distance for standoff detection of nuclear materials, beyond that capable with direct radiation detection, using alternative signatures, such as the concentration of ionization in the surrounding atmosphere, improves the ability to locate, track and monitor this material.Ionizing radiation generates free elections, ions, and exited states in the nearby atmosphere, even when the sources are shielded, which can be detected from a distance. The power-law decrease in the signal as a function of distance, and the activity of the source, limit the measurement of the unamplified excitation and ionization signatures from the source. The Phase-1 effort evaluated different approaches for detecting exited states or ionization created by radiation from nuclear materials.The most promising approach, developed at the University of Michigan, involves mapping the concentration of ions detected by the generation of a plasma in the air from a laser pulse whose power is below the threshold required to ionize air without charge from ionizing radiation. The Phase-1 effort demonstrated the feasibility of extending the range of the ionizing laser to achieve a standoff range of ~100 m, and proposed a design concept for a prototype system. The Phase-2 effort will design, construct, and test a prototype system.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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