This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop key components for a lowcost 3D X-ray security checkpoint system based on Laminography, a method of taking multiple projections of an object and combining these to create three-dimensional (3D) slices of the object. Current checkpoint X-ray security systems have limitations because they provide only a transmission image of the object being screened, whereas a 3D image would provide much more relevant information. A reasonably priced Laminography system has not been implemented due to the unavailability of a reasonably-priced X-ray source with suitable performance. This proposed solution overcomes the limitations of current X-ray sources. By employing a dual-grid dual-cathode source, it is possible to produce a low-cost X-ray source that delivers the cost and performance required for a low-cost high performance 3D Laminography-based checkpoint system. Broader Impacts Resulting from the Proposed Activity The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is based on the development of suitable X-ray component technology that can be used to upgrade the checkpoint security systems to 3D capabilities at reasonable prices. The impact is improved security at the checkpoints. The commercial potential comes from the potential to upgrade several thousand checkpoints with this capability. Although current aviation security checkpoints provide a strong line of defense, terrorists continue to analyze and exploit any weaknesses in these defenses. For this reason, it is critical to continually improve the security checkpoints and security screening equipment, in order to ensure that terrorists are not able to defeat these systems. In addition to improving the security at airport checkpoints, the new source can be used to upgrade any Xray based security system and to improve the performance of conventional Computed Tomography systems. The X-ray source will be unique and can be used in a broad range of fields that includes medical imaging, non-destructive testing, X-ray fluorescence, and so forth
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project : 1) designed a low-cost airport 3D checkpoint system based on Laminography, a method of taking multiple projects of an object and combining these to create 3D slices of objects, and 2) designed and built a new innovate rapidly switching dual energy X-ray source that can be used for conventional security systems, Laminography, and a host of other applications. Current checkpoint X-ray security systems have limitations because they provide only a transmission image of the object being screened, whereas a 3D image would provide much more relevant information. Another limitation with checkpoint systems is that for material discrimination they use "nested" layers of detector and could get better results if high and low energy x-ray images could be captured separately. In Phase I we designed a Laminography based security checkpoint system that would be low cost, and that could provide 3D information. In addition, we designed and build a new dual energy X-ray source, and demonstrated that the new source can switch energies extremely fast, over 30X faster than the current state-of-the-art for switching dual energy sources. The highlight of this effort is that, in this Phase I effort, we built what we understand is the worldâ€™s fastest switching dual energy X-ray source that exceeds state-of-the art by over 30X. The broader impact of the Laminography based system, if built and used at the checkpoints would be a higher ability to detect explosives, as well as reduced false alarms from benign objects. With regards to the dual energy X-ray source, the broader impact is numerous. The new X-ray source can be used in conventional X-ray security checkpoint systems, and it will improve the ability of these systems to locate and detect explosive and threats. Several major homeland security vendors acknowledged that this X-ray source could lead to the next generation of homeland security equipment. The same technology can be used to upgrade and improve Computed Tomography Security Systems, as it would provide dual energy capability to these systems, resulting in improved ability of the system to discriminate explosives and threats. The technology could also be used in food processing to detect unwanted objects. The dual energy technology would also be useful for building next-generation bone densitometers, as dual energy X-ray has recently become the gold standard for bone density measurements, and we were informed by experts in the field that this source would be very valuable for this application. In summary, there is a large range of new potential applications and compelling benefits for this new rapidly switching dual energy X-ray technology.