Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Dual Particle Imager

Technology #4976

Dual Particle Special Nuclear Materials (SNMs) Imaging System

A dual particle imaging system for special nuclear materials (SNMs) detection in high-background radiation environments has been developed. This system is capable of imaging both fast neutrons and γ-radiation with tunable efficiency and angular resolution. The threat of nuclear arms and radioactive warfare techniques necessitates efficient and reliable radiation detection to help ensure public safety. SNMs, including enriched uranium and plutonium, pose the greatest societal threat and can be monitored by detecting their emitted fast neutrons and γ-rays. Unfortunately, conventional detectors including neutron scattering detectors and Compton cameras have finite energy bandwidths which limit their ability in high background conditions This dual particle imaging system mitigates this by incorporating both neutron and photon detectors into a single array, thereby enhancing SNM detection discrimination with a single composite system.

Enhanced SNM Detection

Using a three-plane scatterer and detector configuration, reliable detection of both neutrons and photons across a large energy range has been demonstrated. In contrast to conventional arrays that image neutrons or γ-rays exclusively, this dual particle system collects both sources of information enabling accurate detection of SNMs when other radiation sources are present. The system has real-time plane configurability that provides on the fly optimization of the detection efficiency and angular resolution for specified energies. Coupled with data fusion techniques, the signals from both particles can be analyzed simultaneously providing an SNM detector that has potential to increase the reliability of nuclear arms detection and enhance public safety especially when background radiation sources may be present.

Applications and Advantages


  • Special nuclear materials (SNMs) detection
  • Homeland security
  • Airport security


  • Simultaneously detects and analyzes neutrons and photons
  • Real time configurability provides response optimization
  • Large detection energy bandwidth
  • Greater discrimination in high background conditions