Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Morning Insight: Muon Tomography as a Moore's Law Enabled Technology

In Predicting the Future, the steamrollers, one realizes that Moore's law is interesting but somehow we cannot point to a specific instance as to why this is really interesting. Let's shine some light in that direction. 

When David Brady talks about Coded Aperture X-Ray Scatter Imaging, one gets the impression that at some point in time, one could use scattering as a supplemental information to, potentially, extract hyperspectral information in CT-scans. That information is not going to be easy to extract in bulk measurements but one senses that this is because it involves a more complex modeling. That modeling is only accessible with better and faster computational power. 

In a similar line of thought, it is interesting to see how the improvement of computational power has also transformed muon tomography imaging.  In Imaging Damaged Reactors and Volcanoes, we noted how the use of  a more advanced reconstruction algorithm [18] permitted the imaging of a relevant information. 

The starting point of muon tomography technology can be traced back to Luis Alavrez's [22] negative results on the possibility of the Egyptian pyramids holding another chamber  [23]. At that point in time, the technology could reconstruct image using an attenuation argument. While detectors were getting better, the real breakthrough lied with the possibility of utilizing scattering simulation from Monte Carlo codes like MCNP or GEANT4. With that information one can evaluate whether or not the material being interrogated by muons contains high-Z material in it. And indeed, in the initial study for the detection of potential Fukushima corium [18], scattering seems to provide this additional bit of information that attenuation studies alone cannot provide. Current reconstruction algorithm taking into the coulomb scattering can be found in [5,6].

For those interested, here is a rough survey of the type of problems being investigated with muon tomography. Let us note that some of the attenuation only experiments are very recent as they focus on the mapping of civil engineering structures and void underneath them, a subject of considerable interest: 
  • the detection of smuggled nuclear warheads [3, 8,9,13]
  • the detection of orphan nuclear materials in scrap metal factories [1,9]
  • the detection of empty spaces in the pyramids (Egyptian or Mayan pyramids) [2,5] -attenuation only -
  • the detection of density inhomogeneities in volcanoes [12,14] -attenuation only -
  • the detection of potential corium at Fukushima [10,11]
  • the detection of voids in civil engineering structures [15,16,17] -attenuation only -
  • Nuclear Waste Imaging and Spent Fuel Verification [26]

[2] Imaging Maya Pyramids with Cosmic Ray Muons by Roy Schwitters
[3] Imaging with 1 ft3 Muon Tomography Station and Analysis of Future Station Geometries by Nathan Mertins, Michael Staib, William Bittner, Marcus Hohlmann
[4] Cosmic Ray Muon Radiography by Larry Schultz 
[5] A Detector for Muon Tomography: Data Acquisition and Preliminary Results Eric T. Wright 
[6] Advances in Cosmic Ray Muon Tomography Reconstruction Algorithms by  Richard Claude Hoch
[7] Statistical Reconstruction for Cosmic Ray Muon Tomography Larry J. Schultz, Member, Gary S. Blanpied, Konstantin N. Borozdin, Andrew M. Fraser, Nicolas W. Hengartner, Alexei V. Klimenko, Christopher L. Morris, Chris Orum, and Michael J. Sossong
[8] Enabling Port Security using Passive Muon Radiography, Nicolas Hengartner, Bill Priedhorski, Konstantin Borozdin, Alexi Klimenco, Tom Asaki, Rick Chartrand, Larry Shultz, Andrew Green,  Richard Shirato.
[9] Applications of Muon Tomography for the Detection of Hidden Nuclear Substances in Containers by M. Benettoni, P. Checchia, E. Conti, F. Gonella, G. Nebbia, G. Mariotti, S. Pesente, S. Vanini, G. Viesti, G, G. Bonomi, A. Zenoni,  P. Calvini, , S. Squarcia
[10] Discussion - Next Step for Fukushima Daiichi Muon Tomography by Miyadera, Haruo
[11] Our Next Two Steps for Fukushima Daiichi Muon Tomography by Jeffrey D. Bacon,  Konstantin N. Borozdin,  Michael Brockwell, Edward C. Milner,  Haruo Miyadera,  Christopher Morris,  John O. Perry, Zarija Lukic. Koji Masuda
[12] DIAPHANE web site devoted to the "Development of cosmic-ray muons tomography in geophysics"
[13] COSMIC-RAY MUON TOMOGRAPHY AND ITS APPLICATION TO THE DETECTION OF HIGH-Z MATERIALS by Konstantin Borozdin, Thomas Asaki, Rick Chartrand, Mark Galassi, Andrew Greene, Nicolas Hengartner, Gary Hogan, Alexei Klimenko, Christopher Morris, William Priedhorsky, Alexander Saunders, Richard Schirato, Larry Schultz, Matthew Sottile, Gary Blanpied 
[23] Luis W. Alvarez, Jared A. Anderson, F. El Bedwei, James Burkhard, Ahmed Fakhry, Adib Girgis, Amr Goneid, Fikhry Hassan, Dennis Iverson, Gerald Lynch, Zenab Miligy, Ali Hilmy Moussa, Mohammed-Sharkawi, Lauren Yazolino, Search for Hidden Chambers in the Pyramids," Science 167, 832 (1969). 
[24] Designs for Muon Tomography Station Prototypes Using GEM Detectors, Leonard V. Grasso III
[25] Imaging of high-Z material for nuclear contraband detection with a minimal prototype of a Muon Tomography station  based on GEM detectors  by Kondo Gnanvo, Leonard V. Grasso III, Marcus Hohlmann, Judson B. Locke, Amilkar S. Quintero, Debasis Mitra
 [26]  Nuclear Waste Imaging and Spent Fuel Verification by Muon TomographyG. Jonkmans, V. N. P. Anghel, C. Jewett, M. Thompson

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1 comment:

Dick Gordon said...

Dear Igor,
Computed tomography using the scattered x-rays is already in the works. Here are papers from our group:
Van Uytven, E., S. Pistorius & R. Gordon (2007). An iterative three-dimensional electron density imaging algorithm using uncollimated Compton scattered x rays from a polyenergetic primary pencil beam. Medical Physics 34(1), 256-274.
Van Uytven, E., S. Pistorius & R. Gordon (2008). A method for 3D electron density imaging using single scattered X rays with application to mammographic screening. Physics in Medicine and Biology 53(19), 5445-5459.
Alpuche Avilés, J.E., S. Pistorius, I.A. Elbakri, R. Gordon & B. Ahmad (2011). A 1st generation scatter CT algorithm for electron density breast imaging which accounts for bound incoherent, coherent and multiple scatter: a Monte Carlo study. Journal of X-Ray Science and Technology 19, 1-23.
Alpuche Avilés, J.E., S. Pistorius, R. Gordon & I.A. Elbakri (2011). A novel hybrid reconstruction algorithm for first generation incoherent scatter CT (ISCT) of large objects with potential medical imaging applications. Journal of X-ray Science and Technology 19, 35-56.
Dick Gordon