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Title: Experimental demonstration of an isotope-sensitive warhead verification technique using nuclear resonance fluorescence

Abstract

Future nuclear arms reduction efforts will require technologies to verify that warheads slated for dismantlement are authentic without revealing any sensitive weapons design information to international inspectors. Despite several decades of research, no technology has met these requirements simultaneously. Recent work by Kemp et al. [Kemp RS, Danagoulian A, Macdonald RR, Vavrek JR (2016) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113:8618–8623] has produced a novel physical cryptographic verification protocol that approaches this treaty verification problem by exploiting the isotope-specific nature of nuclear resonance fluorescence (NRF) measurements to verify the authenticity of a warhead. To protect sensitive information, the NRF signal from the warhead is convolved with that of an encryption foil that contains key warhead isotopes in amounts unknown to the inspector. The convolved spectrum from a candidate warhead is statistically compared against that from an authenticated template warhead to determine whether the candidate itself is authentic. Here we report on recent proof-of-concept warhead verification experiments conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Using high-purity germanium (HPGe) detectors, we measured NRF spectra from the interrogation of proxy “genuine” and “hoax” objects by a 2.52 MeV endpoint bremsstrahlung beam. The observed differences in NRF intensities near 2.2 MeV indicate that the physicalmore » cryptographic protocol can distinguish between proxy genuine and hoax objects with high confidence in realistic measurement times.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1432580
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1454833; OSTI ID: 1525296
Grant/Contract Number:  
NA0002534
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Journal Volume: 115 Journal Issue: 17; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
45 MILITARY TECHNOLOGY, WEAPONRY, AND NATIONAL DEFENSE; physical cryptography; nuclear weapons; disarmament; verification

Citation Formats

Vavrek, Jayson R., Henderson, Brian S., and Danagoulian, Areg. Experimental demonstration of an isotope-sensitive warhead verification technique using nuclear resonance fluorescence. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1073/pnas.1721278115.
Vavrek, Jayson R., Henderson, Brian S., & Danagoulian, Areg. Experimental demonstration of an isotope-sensitive warhead verification technique using nuclear resonance fluorescence. United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1721278115.
Vavrek, Jayson R., Henderson, Brian S., and Danagoulian, Areg. Tue . "Experimental demonstration of an isotope-sensitive warhead verification technique using nuclear resonance fluorescence". United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1721278115.
@article{osti_1432580,
title = {Experimental demonstration of an isotope-sensitive warhead verification technique using nuclear resonance fluorescence},
author = {Vavrek, Jayson R. and Henderson, Brian S. and Danagoulian, Areg},
abstractNote = {Future nuclear arms reduction efforts will require technologies to verify that warheads slated for dismantlement are authentic without revealing any sensitive weapons design information to international inspectors. Despite several decades of research, no technology has met these requirements simultaneously. Recent work by Kemp et al. [Kemp RS, Danagoulian A, Macdonald RR, Vavrek JR (2016) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113:8618–8623] has produced a novel physical cryptographic verification protocol that approaches this treaty verification problem by exploiting the isotope-specific nature of nuclear resonance fluorescence (NRF) measurements to verify the authenticity of a warhead. To protect sensitive information, the NRF signal from the warhead is convolved with that of an encryption foil that contains key warhead isotopes in amounts unknown to the inspector. The convolved spectrum from a candidate warhead is statistically compared against that from an authenticated template warhead to determine whether the candidate itself is authentic. Here we report on recent proof-of-concept warhead verification experiments conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Using high-purity germanium (HPGe) detectors, we measured NRF spectra from the interrogation of proxy “genuine” and “hoax” objects by a 2.52 MeV endpoint bremsstrahlung beam. The observed differences in NRF intensities near 2.2 MeV indicate that the physical cryptographic protocol can distinguish between proxy genuine and hoax objects with high confidence in realistic measurement times.},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1721278115},
journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
number = 17,
volume = 115,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {4}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1721278115

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Cited by: 1 work
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Figures / Tables:

Fig. 1 Fig. 1: Schematic of the physical cryptographic NRF measurement. As an information security measure, the large Pb shields prevent the HPGe detectors from directly observing the proxy warhead. Annotated photographs of the experiment geometry are shown in SI Appendix, Figs. S1 and S2.

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    Figures/Tables have been extracted from DOE-funded journal article accepted manuscripts.