Direction-Sensitive Radiation Detection System for Unmanned Vehicles

Technology Description


This technology features a low-cost, lightweight, low-power radiation spectrometry system with directional capability that can be used with an unmanned vehicle for autonomous detection, location, and identification of sources of radiation. The direction-sensitive radiation detection system (DSRD) indicates the direction of the source of the radiation. Once near the source, an energy-sensitive radiation detector generates an energy histogram, identifies characteristic spectral features, and ultimately identifies the radioisotopes present at its location. This information is wirelessly transmitted to human observers.


Features & Benefits


  • Digital directional information for unmanned vehicles (ground or aerial)
  • High detection efficiency and adjustable view angel to minimize search time
  • Low-cost, lightweight, and high-performance fully digital real-time pulse processing on board
  • Wireless communication of information gathered by the device
  • Optimized pattern of sensors allow increased detection efficiency and minimized time to localization




  • National nuclear security
  • Emergency response to radiological accidents
  • Nuclear nonproliferation
  • Routine radiation monitoring in nuclear power plants


Background of Invention


Finding and identifying radiation sources or illicit special nuclear materials (SNM) are vital to such efforts as emergency response and border security. It requires a radiation detection system capable of locating any radioisotopes present in the surrounding area in a very short-time operation. Current hand-held detectors do not have a directional capability and the source must be found by carrying the detector over the suspect area a number of times and observing changes in count rate. Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a radiation detection technology for unmanned vehicles to locate and identify radiation sources. In an autonomous searching system, directional information collected from the detection system is used by the motion or flight control unit to guide the vehicle toward the radiation source autonomously.




A prototype of the technology has been developed and the system is currently under laboratory test and characterization.


Patent Information:
Tech ID:
David Dickson
IP & Licensing Manager
Oregon State University
Abdollah Farsoni
Eric Becker
Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction
Emergency Procedures
Emergency Response
Homeland Security
National Nuclear Security
National Security
Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Nuclear Power Engineering
Radiation Detection
Radiation Health Physics
Radiation Protection
Special Nuclear Materials
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