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Gamma Ray Imaging Used to Improve Radiation Detection

Narrator: This is Science Today. Practically everything around us is radioactive to some extent. So, when scientists and engineers develop radiation detectors for national security, they need to know what's benign and what's not. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is working on a system using gamma ray imaging to improve detection.

Valentine: If you can focus only on gamma rays coming from a particular direction and ignore the gamma rays coming from all other directions, including the ground and potential nuisance sources, like medical patients or industrial sources, then you have a much better chance of pulling a very weak signal out of this background of natural radiation.

Narrator: John Valentine, program leader of the Lab's Detection Technologies division helped develop the Larger Area Imager, a mobile instrument that can be used up to speeds of 25 miles per hour.

Valentine: It would be mounted in a vehicle and driven potentially through the streets or cargo container yard in order to search and do surveillance of large areas in a much shorter time than would be available in the currently available mobile systems.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.