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Proceedings Paper

Bomb detection using backscattered x rays
Author(s): Grant J. Lockwood; Steve L. Shope; Joseph C. Wehlburg; Michael M. Selph; Jennifer Jacobs
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Paper Abstract

Currently the most common method to determine the contents of a package suspected of containing an explosive device is to use transmission radiography. This technique requires that an x-ray source and film be placed on opposite sites of the package. This poses a problem if the package is placed so that only one side is accessible, such as against a wall. There is also a threat to personnel and property since explosive devices may be 'booby trapped.' We have developed a method to x-ray a package using backscattered x-rays. This procedure eliminates the use of film behind the target. All of the detection is done from the same side as the source. When an object is subjected to x-rays, some of them are scattered back toward the source. The backscattering of x-rays is proportional to the atomic number (Z) of the material raised to the 4.1 power. This Z4.1 dependence allows us to easily distinguish between explosives, wires, timer, batteries, and other bomb components. Backscatter experiments at Sandia National Laboratories have been conducted on mock bombs in packages. We are able to readily identify the bomb components. The images that are obtained in this procedure are done in real time and the image is displayed on a computer screen.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 January 1999
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 3577, Sensors, C3I, Information, and Training Technologies for Law Enforcement, (7 January 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.336987
Show Author Affiliations
Grant J. Lockwood, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Steve L. Shope, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Joseph C. Wehlburg, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Michael M. Selph, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Jennifer Jacobs, Sandia National Labs. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3577:
Sensors, C3I, Information, and Training Technologies for Law Enforcement
Edward M. Carapezza; David B. Law, Editor(s)

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