Innovative Physics

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Radiological incidents (Chernobyl/Fukushima) have caused an increasing fear factor to many people globally. Radiation is invisible, with no touch, smell or taste and therefore cannot be detected easily. 

Decontaminating an area containing nuclear waste is complicated due to the intangible nature of radiation; dangerous contaminants are difficult to detect quickly. Traditionally, radiation workers survey small areas meticulously (every square centimeter) with hand-held meters. Not only is this cumbersome but it takes hours to inspect. Using a radiation imaging system such as the Hot Spot Locator (HSL) rapidly reduces the time and process.

Originally developed to aid in the clean-up effort around Fukushima Daiichi, the HSL is an imaging device allowing users to visualise radiation contamination. Signals from an array of high-energy-radiation sensors are coupled with a set of geometrically-opposed shadows. IPL’s specially designed deconvolution algorithms utilise the information eliminating background radiation, revealing both the source of radioactivity and the isotope.

The HSL provides an image/video of a large area; with the user observing where radiation hot spots are located, along with the type of radiation being emitted. The HSL speeds up decontamination work, reducing the exposure of radiation workers and saving lives in the process.

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