A SEnsor NEtwork for the localization and identification of RAdiation sources

The SENERA (A SEnsor NEtwork for the localization and identification of RAdiation sources) project aims to develop core technologies of distributed sensor networks for the localization and isotope identification of radioactive sources with purpose to build a solution applicable to the diverse problems which one confronts when dealing with difficult to detect (either shielded or in a large crowd) sources in spaces without specific entrance and exit points

The problem in all scenarios of radiological threats is to distinguish signatures of dangerous material from background and other (e.g., medical) material. Radiation detection systems are expected to minimize inconvenience to the public; for instance, security personnel can better prevent dangerous material from being carried into an area by requiring everybody to enter the area through narrow gates containing accurate sensors but such restrictions are often unacceptable and impractical.

Goals of threat detection systems are to reduce:

  • the time to detect, locate, identify, and neutralize dangerous material
  • the rate of false alarms
  • cost
  • degree of public inconvenience
  • problems in deployment and maintenance.

In detection and localization of radiation source(s) the signal to noise ratio can be dramatically improved if the sensors are close to the source. All the aforementioned arguments suggest the usefulness of a mobile sensor network.

The project objectives target the development of a scaled prototype of a radiation detection network, which will be used for emulating threat detection scenarios:

  • Deploy devices based on pixel semiconductor radiation detectors (hybridized CdTe pixel detectors + photon counting and energy identifying CMOS ICs) in order to develop the \u201chigh performance\u201d nodes of the network. These nodes will be able to find the directional coordinates of a source by using both the coded aperture and the Compton scattering imaging techniques and for this reason they are called Directional devices
  • Develop spectroscopic detectors with mediocre efficiency due to the size of their crystals but with record energy resolution capability without cryogenic systems due to the use of Schottky or p-n CdTe diodes as the cheap, low-power members of the network. These detectors are called the non-directional devices.
  • Use smartphones and tablets as local processing units of both the directional and non-directional devices and as a means of internet connectivity of the network nodes.In this way we intend to achieve the seamless integration of such a network in existing infrastructures with high flexibility and easiness of setup.
  • Develop algorithms that will exploit the data provided by the network nodes with target to estimate the number, strength, identity and location of the sources using among others guided search which will exploit the spectroscopic information and the capabilities of the directional detectors. Algorithm development will be facilitated by field tests performed at the premises of one partner using the arsenal of sensors that will outcome by the project.