The Department of Homeland Security(DHS)'s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has developed a miniaturized version of a dosimeter, a portable device used for measuring exposure to ionizing radiation, which can provide life-saving early detection in the unlikely event of a nuclear accident or dirty bomb.
Dubbed the Citizen's Dosimeter, this high-tech plastic card would be as convenient and affordable as a subway card, with the capability to measure the amount of radiation on a person or in a given area.
The National Urban Security Technologies Laboratory (or NUSTL, pronounced new STEEL) located in New York City and managed by DHS S&T, has been awarded a patent that covers the development of radiation dosimetry technologies – DHS's first patent.
Currently, personal radiation dosimeter badges are worn in nuclear plants, but a plant dosimeter cannot be read on the spot; it must be sent to a processing lab to determine an individual's radiation dose. While a final prototype has not yet been built, a workable blueprint for a wallet-sized card that can detect radiation in real time is now in place.
"We were inspired by the Metro cards we use every day to get around Manhattan, and envisioned a dosimeter with that level of convenience," says Gladys Klemic, a NUSTL physicist who managed the project from Illinois. Klemic believes a dosimeter in this form could benefit both emergency responders and the general public.
Klemic and her team at NUSTL set out to create a dosimeter that would meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) requirements for personal radiation dosimeter badges, and incorporate commercially available components to decrease the size and lower the price tag.
NUSTL began by using radiation-sensitive material from Landauer, Inc., a commercial dosimetry provider in Illinois, testing materials of varying thicknesses and combinations to determine how thin they could make the card while still achieving the targeted performance.
After testing nearly a half a dozen materials, the NUSTL scientists determined that using the chemical element tantalum allowed them to obtain accurate readings with minimal thickness. Combining this element in a unique double-layer, stainless steel filter helped to reduce false positives. It was this unique design that led to the patent award.
The next step is to develop a card reader to reveal the radiation dose measured by the Citizen's Dosimeter. In the event of a nuclear incident, first responders equipped with a card reader would immediately be able to measure radiation exposure for anyone carrying the Citizen's Dosimeter. While it will be years before a card and reader can be prototyped, tested, certified and wallet-ready, NUSTL has lined up a team to support the effort, including:
* Engineers at StorCard, a California-based group that has previously developed a prototype credit-card floppy disk and reader
* Nomadics, an Oklahoma engineering firm
* Radiation detection experts at Landauer and Oklahoma State University
The Citizen's Dosimeter represents a technological breakthrough and the next generation in radiation detection. It also demonstrates how public-private partnerships can work to produce life-saving solutions – in this case, protecting the nation from radiation resulting from an act of terrorism or natural disaster.
John Verrico | Newswise Science News
Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles
23.11.2017 | IMDEA Networks Institute
NASA CubeSat to test miniaturized weather satellite technology
10.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
23.11.2017 | Information Technology
23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.11.2017 | Life Sciences