Detectors for the Gamma-Ray Resonant Absorption (GRA) Method of Explosives Detection in Cargo: A Comparative Study Conference Paper uri icon


  • Gamma-Ray Resonant Absorption (GRA) is an automatic-decision radiographic screening technique that combines high radiation penetration with very good sensitivity and specificity to nitrogenous explosives. The method is particularly well-suited to inspection of large, massive objects (since the incident gamma-ray probe is at 9.17 MeV) such as aviation and marine containers, heavy vehicles and railroad cars. Two kinds of gamma-ray detectors have been employed to date in GRA systems: 1) Resonant-response nitrogen-rich liquid scintillators and 2) BGO detectors. This paper analyses and compares the response of these detector-types to the resonant radiation, in terms of single-pixel figures of merit. The latter are sensitive not only to detector response, but also to accelerator-beam quality, via the properties of the nuclear reaction that produces the resonant gamma-rays. Generally, resonant detectors give rise to much higher nitrogen-contrast sensitivity in the radiographic image than their non-resonant detector counterparts and furthermore, do not require proton beams of high energy-resolution. By comparison, the non-resonant detectors have higher gamma-detection efficiency, but their contrast sensitivity is very sensitive to the quality of the accelerator beam. Implications of these detector/accelerator characteristics for eventual GRA field systems are discussed. Comment: 11 pages

publication date

  • January 1, 2004