Abstract

Recent advancements in low-light imaging technologies have opened the way to utilize weak light emissions for the detection of radioactive materials [1,2]. It is known that ionizing particles excite atmospheric molecules to produce a faint UV radioluminescence emission in the vicinity of a radiation source. This light can be measured from a distance with state-of-the-art cameras and photomultiplier tubes if dark enough environmental conditions can be achieved. The method is especially suitable for the remote detection of radioactive materials decaying through alpha-particle emission. Since alpha particles are strongly ionizing and their range in air is short, open alpha emitters induce scintillation bubbles with a diameter of a few centimetres around them. These bubbles can reveal the presence of alpha-particle emitting materials, which are highly hazardous but difficult to detect with other means.

© 2013 IEEE

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