Los Alamos National LaboratorySensorNexus
Our sensor capabilities working for your solutions

Radiological/Nuclear Applications

Radiological/Nuclear Applications

Radiological sensors in action, solutions for you.

Radiological and Nuclear Capabilities—for Collaboration

View our capability sheets: get details of what we do.

How we deploy innovation

radiiological-nuclear bubble

In the mid-1990s, Los Alamos scientists were developing proton radiography techniques for a variety of applications and decided to try using muons instead of protons. Cosmic-ray muons, produced when cosmic rays strike the upper atmosphere, are subatomic particles that shower down on Earth unnoticed. The resulting technology is known as muon scattering tomography, a breakthrough variation of muon tomography.

radiiological-nuclear bubble

Muons can penetrate heavy shielding and tell you precisely what is in a vehicle or container without ever having to open it up. In response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States, the Los Alamos funded a unique project to use the multiple scattering angle of individual muons passing through an object to detect smuggled nuclear materials in cargo.

radiiological-nuclear bubble

Decision Sciences has constructed and delivered Multi-Mode Passive Detection System portal monitors at various locations in the United States and the United Kingdom. Decision Sciences International Corporation signed on as a partner to commercialize the Lab’s muon technology. Decision Sciences, with investments from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, deployed the Multi-Mode Passive Detection System for scanning cargo containers, vehicles, and rail cars. Other applications of muon imaging has been found to be effective are nuclear reactor imaging, arms treaty verification, and structural health monitoring.

Click on the circles above to see our stages of innovation.

Click on the circles above to see how we build on our decades of discovery science to find 21st century solutions.

Ways we can help you find solutions

Working at the intersection of biology, chemistry, computation, radiological/nuclear science applications, and engineering, scientists at Los Alamos use their expertise in molecular and cell biology, surveillance systems, and robotics to create faster detection platforms, enhance threat characterization, and improve comparative analysis for response.

Foundational science

  • The nation’s only capability for nuclear criticality experiments
  • Gamma-ray and neutron detector development technology
  • Neutron correlation theory and measurements
  • Thermal calorimetry
  • Experience with radiation measurements in all parts of the nuclear fuel cycle
  • Alternative signature detection in support of nuclear safeguards
  • Nondestructive assay international safeguards training programs

Enabling technologies

  • Custom detector development and fabrication
  • Development of new signal processing electronics
  • Radiation and light transport modeling
  • International nuclear safeguards deployment
  • Large collection of radioactive sources and special nuclear material

To take a closer look at Los Alamos sensor capabilities, follow the links under "Radiological and Nuclear Capabilities for Collaboration" above. This is only a small sampling of what is available, so please email SensorNexus for an in-depth discussion of available technologies!

See also

head of ideas

Bring your complex problem to us

Are you trying to

  • create a faster detection platform?
  • enhance threat characterization?
  • improve comparative analysis?
  • or something else beyond your reach?

Whatever your challenge, Los Alamos can partner with you to answer basic science questions, confirm results—even design and test products.

With a multidisciplinary approach encompassing biology, chemistry, computation, and engineering, we can provide crucial expertise and technologies at any stage of your product development.