Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Top Science of 2013

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Portable laser tool to thwart nuclear smugglers


Researchers demonstrated for the first time that laser-generated neutrons can detect concealed nuclear material, and that the tool can be small.

Using a super-fast yet powerful short-pulse laser called TRIDENT, we focused neutrons onto a miniscule spot. When neutrons encounter nuclear material, they cause measurable fission, alerting guards that bomb-making material is present. A tabletop device could protect borders and crowded ports.

Read more about TRIDENT at Los Alamos: