Improving the Optical Yield of a Portable Plastic-Scintillator-Based Muon Tomography System


  1. Moats, K.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Ottawa Research Centre, Ottawa ON (CAN);Zernam Enterprises Inc., Ottawa ON (CAN)
A portable muon tomography system could be used to image suspect Special Nuclear Material (SNM) objects that are approximately 1 m3 or smaller. The work in this report focuses on the simulation and laboratory studies of this system for use by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). The main challenge for image reconstruction in a portable muon scattering tomography is achieving a precise angular resolution. In order to do so, the optical yield must be improved over that from the much larger CRIPT experiment. This work studied seven materials that could be used as optical couplers, inserted between the plastic triangular scintillating bars and the wavelength shifting fibres. This would serve to minimize losses of scintillation photons as they are channeled by the wavelength shifting fibres via total internal reflection. Test data for this system using 90Sr, 137Cs and cosmic ray muon sources was collected at DRDC Ottawa Research Centre and was analyzed by writing C++ code using the ROOT analysis package. An optical simulation of the same system was performed using the C++ Geant4 framework as a means to validate the experimental results using cosmic ray muons. Although the Geant4 results for some optical couplers agree quite well with experiment, there are some discrepancies for the other optical couplers. Whether these discrepancies are due to limitations in the simulation or systematic errors in the experimental setup is currently being investigated. Once the best optical coupler is
radiation detection;special nuclear material;tomography;muon;muon tomography;GEANT4;plastic scintillator
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2016-C142 — Contract Report
Date of publication
01 Apr 2016
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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