Free-moving Quantitative Gamma-ray Imaging

Sci Rep. 2021 Oct 15;11(1):20515. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-99588-z.


The ability to map and estimate the activity of radiological source distributions in unknown three-dimensional environments has applications in the prevention and response to radiological accidents or threats as well as the enforcement and verification of international nuclear non-proliferation agreements. Such a capability requires well-characterized detector response functions, accurate time-dependent detector position and orientation data, a digitized representation of the surrounding 3D environment, and appropriate image reconstruction and uncertainty quantification methods. We have previously demonstrated 3D mapping of gamma-ray emitters with free-moving detector systems on a relative intensity scale using a technique called Scene Data Fusion (SDF). Here we characterize the detector response of a multi-element gamma-ray imaging system using experimentally benchmarked Monte Carlo simulations and perform 3D mapping on an absolute intensity scale. We present experimental reconstruction results from hand-carried and airborne measurements with point-like and distributed sources in known configurations, demonstrating quantitative SDF in complex 3D environments.