Symetrica has introduced a prototype wearable detector system that provides high-sensitivity, high-accuracy and resolution for an improved source detection performance.
The compact and lightweight Neutron Vest, which has been officially presented at the 2016 IEEE Symposium on Radiation Measurements and Applications (SORMA), will provide security professionals an alternative to backpack and handheld systems guaranteeing the same level of performance against the ANSI standard but with substantially reduced weight and bulk.
Neutron Vest is a radiation detector system comprised of up to four wearable neutron detector modules. When worn on the torso, the system provides comparable sensitivity to a backpack system with the advantages of being ultra-light – each module weighs 1lb – and supporting an intuitive smartphone interface.
Based upon Symetrica’s Discovery Technology, each neutron detector module comprises a thin LiF/ZnS thermal neutron detector, a silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) array as well as pulse-shape discrimination logic and internal health monitoring. The lightweight internal battery allows over twenty hours of operation from a four-hour charge.
The use of multiple detectors allows the system to provide directional information in the horizontal plane to support the search for threats. By analysing the relative counts from each module, direction can be determined with a resolution of 45 degrees.
Additionally, the data from the Neutron Vest is combined with timestamps and GPS data to create a radiation map that can be further processed to estimate the threat location. An inbuilt Bluetooth connection allows the data to be transmitted to Symetrica’s handheld radio-isotope identification device (RIID) VeriFinder or a smartphone, where advanced anomaly detection and background monitoring algorithms are run and presented to the operator via an intuitive GUI.
The integrated health-check algorithms ensure that the Neutron Vest continues to operate optimally without the need for costly and disruptive in-field recalibration, thus reducing operational costs and boosting user confidence.
Commenting on the Neutron Vest announcement, Jeff McCray, Symetrica’s VP of Business Development, said, “Throughout this development program, the Neutron Vest is achieving impressive results. The source detection performance meets ANSI N42.53-2013 and IAEA NSU-NSD (v3). Gamma-ray rejection (measured at 1:108) also meets the ANSI and IAEA standards. Neutron Vest is a further example of how Symetrica’s advanced Discovery Technology can be honed for real-world applications, bringing simplicity, accuracy, reliability and convenience to theoperator.”
SORMA West 2016 focuses exclusively on radiation detection for homeland and national security applications. The high profile conference showcases technology solutions with presentations and plenary talks, including Dr. Mark Foster, Symetrica’s Neutron Vest program leader, presenting a paper on the Neutron Vest.