Close inspection

Varian Medical Systems has developed a new type of X-ray linear accelerator that will enable cargo screening systems to automatically alert operators if suspicious materials are detected.


Varian Medical Systems has developed a new type of X-ray linear accelerator that will enable cargo-screening systems to automatically alert operators if suspicious materials are detected.



Varian claims the Varian Linatron K9 accelerator will, for the first time, make it possible to build cargo screening systems that can scan containers and analyse images to determine the nature of the contents.



“The Varian Linatron K9 represents a major milestone in the effort to develop fast, accurate, and automated cargo screening systems that can improve homeland security without impeding the flow of commerce,” said Lester Boeh, vice president for Varian’s Security & Inspection Products business. “This technology has the capacity to take us beyond what you can conventionally see with X-rays, making it possible to identify special nuclear materials as well as view container contents.”



Inspection systems built around the Linatron K9 would scan fully loaded cargo containers and then utilise specialised image-analysis software to analyse the resulting X-ray images for quick identification of dangerous materials. Varian will supply the Linatron K9 to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and system integrators, who build cargo screening vehicles and facilities for the world’s seaports and airports.



“The high-energy X-rays from the Linatron K9 can penetrate seventeen inches of solid steel to generate fast, high-resolution images,” Boeh commented. “We believe it can screen a fully-loaded container faster than any other non-intrusive inspection system available in the world.”



Varian says the Linatron K9 is the first “interdigitated” dual-energy accelerator designed specifically for cargo screening. It emits X-rays in a pattern that alternates between two energy levels at speeds of more than 400 times per second. By analysing the X-rays that emerge when a cargo container is scanned, systems equipped with the Linatron K9 can generate information about high-density objects and nuclear materials in cargo containers.



Varian will introduce the K9 dual energy accelerator to the cargo screening industry at the upcoming Air and Port Security Expo in Brussels, Belgium between June 22-23, 2005.