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A Compton Gamma Imager for Criminal and National Security Investigation

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Technical Report

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Natural Resources Canada Ottawa, ON Canada

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Law enforcement agencies, first responders, and others collecting information in an emergency involving the release of radioactivity, require instrumentation which can quickly and intuitively show them the location of the sources of radiation. Responding to this need, project partners designed Compton gamma imagers, which can show the location of a radiation emitter on an optical photograph. The group pursued two designs with different risk profiles and advantages a bar design based on long bars of scintillator read out at the ends with conventional vacuum photomultiplier tubes and a pixel detector based on small cubes of scintillator each read out with a novel silicon photomultiplier. After an extensive design and optimization process involving simulation as well as test-bench validation, laboratory demonstration units were designed, and assembled. Both the bar and pixel prototypes function well, providing an image resolution of better than a degree within a minute of data taking for a 10 mCi Cs-137 source 40 m away. If these prototypes could be ruggedized and brought to market, they would provide an enormous improvement in capability to teams responsible for localizing radiation emitters in a radiological emergency.

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