Atmos Technologies, based at the STFC Daresbury Laboratory has developed robust, flexible radiation detectors which can be used to protect the environment and prevent terrorist radiation attacks. The technology can also be used in medical radiation applications.
Louvain-la-Neuve University in Belgium and the medical physics department of University College London carried out trials of the Atmos radiation detectors. They showed the devices are more robust, easier to use and cheaper than other devices, and will react to the full spectrum of ionising and electromagnetic radiation. The detectors can also be produced in a range of sizes, with a bigger version under development.
For anti-terrorism applications, the radiation detectors can be tailored for use on military vehicles or as small attachments to existing metal detectors in airport security lounges to detect components used in dirty bombs. They can also be used in small personal radiation monitors, as well as detecting radiation in food before consumption.
The Atmos detectors also have environmental applications to warn of leakage from decommissioned reactors, or monitor radioactive waste in storage or the spread of contamination in the water table. They can be dropped into boreholes, connected remotely to a radio link and left to give an automatic warning at the first signs of contamination. They can also be applied to medical and food irradiation as well as the polymerisation of rubbers and plastics.
Atmos Technologies is now seeking partners to license the technology to manufacture the radiation detectors for commercial exploitation.