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D. A Handheld Nuclear Detector Soon Available

Narrator: This is Science Today. Portable devices and other advanced technologies used to detect nuclear materials are under development at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Radiation Detection Center. Simon Labov, who directs the center, says they've adapted astrophysics technologies used at the Lab and applied them to these portable nuclear detectors.

Labov: That's the great thing about having a science laboratory like this where it's not just - the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory is not just a weapons laboratory, just a national security laboratory - we have all kinds of scientific things going on here and it makes a huge difference.

Narrator: The Radiation Detection Center is working on a whole suite of portable devices that use germanium - a detecting material that needs to be cooled by liquid nitrogen.

Labov: You don't want to be carrying this big heavy thing with liquid nitrogen pouring out. So we developed several versions of an instrument that uses an electromechanical cooler - basically a little refrigerator.

Narrator: Labov says this instrument is now being commercialized and will soon be available. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.