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Remote detection of radioactive material using optically induced air breakdown ionization
Author(s): Joshua Isaacs; Daniel Woodbury; Phillip Sprangle
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Paper Abstract

A concept for all-optical remote detection of radioactive materials is presented and analyzed. The presence of excess radioactivity increases the level of negative ions in the surrounding air region. We model irradiated air to estimate the density of negative ions and use a set of coupled rate equations to simulate a subsequent laser-induced avalanche ionization. This can act as a source of seed electrons for a laser-induced avalanche ionization breakdown process. We examine avalanche ionization behavior in several laser parameter regimes, and determine the time required for saturation of the breakdown for both a single seed ion as well as for a population of ions present in the focused volume of a highintensity laser pulse, corresponding to two methods of remotely measuring the ion density, which is a signature of radioactive materials.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 May 2019
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 11010, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Sensing XX, 110101E (17 May 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2526350
Show Author Affiliations
Joshua Isaacs, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)
Daniel Woodbury, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)
Phillip Sprangle, Univ. of College Park, Maryland (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11010:
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Sensing XX
Jason A. Guicheteau; Chris R. Howle, Editor(s)

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