ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom

A precise new type of beam technology could be used to detect nuclear materials and explosives even through thick materials like steel and concrete, scientists have suggested.

Researchers have come up with a new technique to produce high-energy beams, which are very precisely controlled, that could help detect and identify nuclear materials. The process would work in a similar way to the electron beam of an X-ray but produce a higher level of energy to penetrate even thick concrete.

Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have said that the precise nature of the technique enhances resolution while also producing lower levels of radiation than alternative processes. It is thought that the technique could aid the detection of contraband, nuclear devices and explosives.

Because the beam can be so tightly controlled, the technique could be tuned to identify the contents of something - and even its exact elements - without causing damage to the container.

The compact technology could also potentially be made portable; director of the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator Center Wim Leemans said that instead of bringing the applications to the machine, it may be possible to bring the machine to the applications, “whether that means scanning cargo, verifying treaty compliance, or many other uses”.

The technology is detailed in a report for the National Nuclear Security Administration, which explores nuclear science-based applications to protect national security. Researchers also note that the technique could have a range of other applications in the medical and industrial fields, providing the opportunity to look inside machinery without the need for disassembly.

If you’re working on a project that requires electron beam welding, speak to us to find out how we could help you