skip to main content

Title: Compressive sensing for nuclear security.

Special nuclear material (SNM) detection has applications in nuclear material control, treaty verification, and national security. The neutron and gamma-ray radiation signature of SNMs can be indirectly observed in scintillator materials, which fluoresce when exposed to this radiation. A photomultiplier tube (PMT) coupled to the scintillator material is often used to convert this weak fluorescence to an electrical output signal. The fluorescence produced by a neutron interaction event differs from that of a gamma-ray interaction event, leading to a slightly different pulse in the PMT output signal. The ability to distinguish between these pulse types, i.e., pulse shape discrimination (PSD), has enabled applications such as neutron spectroscopy, neutron scatter cameras, and dual-mode neutron/gamma-ray imagers. In this research, we explore the use of compressive sensing to guide the development of novel mixed-signal hardware for PMT output signal acquisition. Effectively, we explore smart digitizers that extract sufficient information for PSD while requiring a considerably lower sample rate than conventional digitizers. Given that we determine the feasibility of realizing these designs in custom low-power analog integrated circuits, this research enables the incorporation of SNM detection into wireless sensor networks.
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States