A method for high-resolution x-ray imaging of intermodal cargo containers for fissionable materials

B. J. Quiter, S. G. Prussin, B. Pohl, J. Hall, J. Trebes, G. Stone, M. A. Descalle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The sensitivity for identification of high- Z objects in elemental form in the massive cargos of intermodal containers with continuous bremsstrahlung radiation depends critically on discriminating the weak signal from uncollided photons from the very intense flux of scattered radiations that penetrate the cargo. We propose that this might be accomplished by rejection of detected events with E≤2-3 MeV that contain the majority of multiply scattered photons along with a correction for single-scattered photons at higher energies. Monte Carlo simulations of radiographs with a 9 MeV bremsstrahlung spectrum demonstrate that rejection of detected events with E≤3 MeV removes the majority of signals from scattered photons emerging through cargos with Z≤30 and areal densities of at least 145 g cm-2. With analytical estimates of the single-scattered intensity at higher energies, accurate estimates of linear attenuation coefficients for shielded and unshielded uranium spheres with masses as small as 0.08 kg are found. The estimated maximum dose is generally so low that reasonable order tomography of interesting portions of a container should be possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number064910
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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