Alex GrievsonPhD student
I am researching the use of fast neutron spectroscopy to identify different radioisotopes for use in security and safeguards.
Individual isotopes emit a specific neutron energy and multiplicity spectrum. These two distributions can be used to accurately discriminate between radioisotopes. This is very useful in applications such as portal security, where being able to tell the difference between harmless sources of radiation such as medicines for radiotherapy and more dangerous ones that could be used for destructive purposes, such as weapons development.
This sort of assay has in the past required complex analogue signal processing due to the very short signal durations from the detectors (typically nanoseconds.) This approach is very bulky, requires a high level of calibration and is time consuming. This project aims to use recent developments in digital signal processing made in the Engineering department at Lancaster to perform this process in real time, using portable equipment, greatly increasing the areas and scenarios that it could be deployed within.
This work is sponsored by the Atomic Weapons Establishment under the National Nuclear Security program and performed in conjunction with the University of Surrey and the Culham Centre for Fusion research.