Nuclear Technology / Volume 150 / Number 2 / May 2005 / Pages 196-202
Technical Paper / Radioisotopes
This work presents a portable device for detecting visually obscured contraband money bills that may be hidden within conventional household walls for the purpose of avoiding confiscation. The device utilizes the Compton backscattering of photons emitted from a collimated 241Am source. The scattered photons are detected with a thin NaI(Tl) detector, either over a wide field of view for surface scanning of the wall or within a confined view field for depth scanning. The design of the device was optimized for best density contrast and highest count rate for a given source activity. It was shown that the minimum detectable amount of contraband, with >95% confidence level, is 86 paper bills. The contraband was detectable when hidden in household walls made of gyprock or wooden paneling, even when masked by higher density materials such as metallic piping. The device's capability exceeded those of commercially available density-based portable contraband detectors.