Real-time radiation detection is critical in situations where there is danger of exposure to non-background levels of energetic particles and ionizing photos, as well as in the monitoring and demonstration of safe work environments in nuclear power and radioactive waste and materials facilities.
University of Michigan researchers have created a high-speed, three-dimensional, gamma-ray imaging method and system and detector array which characterize radioactivity distributions by superimposing radiation images on a view of the environment using see-through display screens or shields to provide a stereoscopic view of the radiation. The method and system provide real-time visual feedback about the locations and relative strengths of radioactive sources. The invention exploits the human brain’s ability to naturally reconstruct a 3D, stereoscopic image from 2D images generated by two “imagers” separated by a known angle(s) without the need for 3D mathematical image reconstruction. The method and system are not only tools for minimizing human exposure to radiation thus assisting in ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) planning, but also are helpful for identifying contamination in, for example, laboratory or industrial settings. A motion tracking subsystem is used to generate information on the user’s position and head orientation to determine what a user “sees”. Detectors are manufactured or configured in curvilinear geometries (such as hemispheres, spheres, circles, arcs, or other arrangements) to enable sampling of the ionizing radiation field for determination of positional activity (absolute or relative amounts of ionizing radiation) or spectroscopy (energy distributions of photons).
Applications and Advantages
- Identifying radiation sources in real-time 3D space
- Detecting other optically-invisible radiation such as infrared radiation caused by smoldering fires may also be imaged.
- Identifying contamination in, for example, laboratory or industrial settings
- Real-time tracking of radiation