DETECTOR RESPONSE FROM THERMAL NEUTRON ACTIVATION OF CONCEALED EXPLOSIVES

Zafar ullah Koreshi, Hamda Khan

Abstract


Explosives concealed in small quatitites (~100 g), buried in landmines or in baggage, can be detected by characteristic gamma rays produced by neutron activation. However, the detection response can be reduced by attenuation of the signal in the background medium. This paper carries out a Monte Carlo simulation, using MCNP-V, to estimate the gamma signal spectrum and intesity degradation at a sodium iodide (NaI) detector from a small sample of trinitrotoluene (TNT) explosive buried in limestone. It is found that the transmission across 25 cm of limestone is ~6% of the 2.2233 MeV hydrogen signal and ~20% of the nitrogen signal. An empirical formula, obtained from MCNP re-runs, is used to estimate the signal strength from TNT, buried at 5-25 cm in limestone, for a californium source (252Cf) emitting 2.31 x 107 n/s. It is found that for TNT mass in the range 0.1-3 kg, the signatures are in the range 20-2000 s-1 from nitrogen and 24-2400 s-1 from hydrogen. These estimates can be used to determine the scanning time for an explosives detection system.


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