Homeland security has an urgent need for an advanced detecting system to accurately and quickly search for nuclear and explosive materials in a wide variety of situations. An integrated broad area coverage neutron/x-ray interrogation unit is proposed here to meet such needs. This system will use a unique cylindrical Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) device. This compact pulsed neutron/x-ray line source can produce ~2 × 1010 n/s 14.1-MeV D-T neutrons, ~108 n/s 2.45-MeV D-D neutrons and 80 kV x-rays.

Unlike prior neutron activation systems, this unit can provide a long line-like emission source to obtain broad coverage, providing very fast scan time for even large objects. The use of combined multi-energy neutron and x-ray sources, along with a 3-D detector array and fuzzy logic analysis system, are expected to provide high elemental identification accuracy, greatly decreasing false signals so commonly encountered in prior systems. Analysis techniques will employ both thermal neutron analysis (TNA)and pulsed fast neutron analysis (PFNA), accompanied by broad area x-ray imaging techniques.