The ORTEC PINS3-CW is a Portable Isotopic Neutron Spectroscopy (PINS) non-destructive assessment system that analyzes and provides on-site identification information about the contents of unidentified or suspect chemicals inside thick steel unopened containers. The system is designed to identify chemicals inside a container without the need for disassembly, contact, physical sampling or breech, and is being deployed as part of national counter-terrorist equipment assets for providing a safe means of identifying the contents of "suspect" packages.
The PINS3-CW is simple and easy to use with the addition of the ORTEC trans-SPEC-N mechanically cooled high purity germanium spectrometer. The trans-SPEC-N has been specifically designed and tested to replace existing liquid nitrogen cooled detectors currently used for neutron chemical assay systems and provides the necessary field spectroscopy readings for non-intrusive chemical identification.
PINS3-CW provides significant advantages over previous liquid nitrogen designed systems by eliminating the logistical and safety problems associated with the storage and transport of liquid nitrogen, equipment handling, maintenance, and training.
- Munitions – Artillery, Mortar, Rockets, Bombs, Land mines.
- Containers – Gas cylinders, Storage tanks, Bags, Brief cases, Parcels.
- Chemicals – Chemical war heads, Gases, Smoke.
The Portable Isotopic Nuclear Spectroscopy (PINS) Chemical Identification System identifies dangerous compounds and mixtures non-destructively. The test object need not be opened or touched, providing significant safety benefits. As shown, PINS probes a test object with neutrons that excite the atomic nuclei within, causing the excited nuclei to produce gamma rays. The energy intensity pattern or spectrum of these gamma rays is unique for each chemical element, and by analyzing the gamma-ray spectrum, the PINS software identifies the chemical elements inside the test object and determines if the object contains a chemical warfare agent, a fill (such as sand), or a smoke generating chemical.
How It Works
PINS3-CW uses neutrons produced by an electrical neutron generator to excite nuclei inside the object under test. The fusion of deuterium atoms (D + D) inside the neutron generator results in the formation of He-3 ions and a neutron with a kinetic energy of approximately 2.5 MeV. The standard PINS3-CW neutron generator produces ten million neutrons per second. The generator emits neutrons omni-directionally, and approximately 1,000 neutrons per second strike each square centimeter of the test object surface. Since neutrons are a very penetrating form of radiation, most pass through the test object casing and interact with the chemicals inside.
Neutrons from the generator excite the nuclei they encounter by inelastic scattering or by neutron capture. In either case, the excited nuclei decay to their ground states by gamma-ray emission, and the gamma rays are characteristic of the emitting nucleus. That is, the gamma-ray energies and intensities vary, often strongly, from one nucleus to another. For example, the hydrogen nucleus emits a 2.2-MeV gamma ray under neutron bombardment, while a phosphorus nucleus emits a 1.3-MeV gamma ray.
The neutron-induced gamma rays are measured by a high-purity germanium (HPGe) spectrometer and sorted into a spectrum by the spectrometer electronics. By analysis of the spectrum, the chemical elements excited by the neutrons are determined, and the chemical substance inside the test object can be identified.
PINS in Operation
Developed for field deployment, the PINS3-CW is both portable and rugged. Its components include a mechanically cooled spectrometer with integrated multichannel analyzer, a neutron generator, a stand and shielding for the detector, and a laptop computer for user interface. Customized software displays the data in real time as it is gathered and offers powerful options for monitoring and analysis.
The laptop computer serves as the PINS3-CW control panel. The computer allows the user to initialize the instrument, start and stop data acquisition by the gamma-ray spectrometer, and display and analyze the resulting gamma-ray spectra. Connecting cables 82 feet (25 meters) long allow the computer to be set up at a safe distance from the radiation exclusion area, and also provide communication between the computer, gamma-ray spectrometer, and the neutron generator.
Trans-SPEC-N Mechanically Cooled High Purity Germanium Spectrometer
Unlike the liquid-nitrogen-cooled HPGe spectrometers used in previous PINS systems, PINS3-CW uses the trans-SPEC-N mechanically-cooled HPGe spectrometer, requiring no liquid nitrogen. The electrical power required to cool the spectrometer detector is approximately 30 watts. The trans-SPEC-N lithium ion battery can keep the detector cold for 10 to 12 hours and the external battery can be “hot-swapped” for extended field use of the instrument. The trans-SPEC-N provides a flexible and modular solution to support field inspections of chemical threats with the following additional features:
Electrical Neutron Generator
- No LN2 — Miniature, high-reliability, "run-forever" Stirling-cycle cooler eliminates the need for LIQUID NITROGEN; detector element is encapsulated in high reliability, low loss, all-metal sealed cryostat.
- High Sensitivity — Large (>50% relative efficiency) HPGe detector.
- High Stability — Digital electronics give you the solution for the toughest analysis in the toughest conditions.
- Bright and Clear — VGA resolution display with touch sensitive operator screen.
- All-in-one Integrated Package — Rugged and compact with no interconnections — easy to setup and go.
- Smart — Nuclide ID and activity calculation for nine Regions of Interest (ROI).
- Well Connected — USB 2.0 and Wireless.
- 802.11 Communications, built-in GPS, and Secure Digital Input/Output (SDIO) storage of acquired spectra.
- Flexible — A variety of power sources can be used, including internal battery, supplemental external battery, automobile battery (any 12 V DC), and line power; all with automatic switchover.
The P 385 Neutron Generator incorporates the next generation of digital control. The operating options are integrated into the PINS Plus analysis software including settings for start and stop; a run timer, and ON/Off indication. Extensive safety features are designed into the P 385. Key-lock and external interlocks are built-in while the Smart Lamp senses light and current. The P 385 is designed for longevity and lifetime cost savings. The accelerator head contains a longer-life tube than other neutron generators on the market. The portable neutron generator continues the flexible and modular solution to support field inspections of chemical threats with the following additional features:
Auto Analysis of Chemicals
- Longer tube life – lowers lifecycle cost.
- Higher output – increased identification times.
- Modern digital control – integrated with PINS Plus analysis software.
- Integrated high voltage power supply – simple power operation in the field.
The PINS data acquisition program records and displays the incoming spectra measurements from the trans-SPEC-N. It also analyzes the spectrum being recorded every 10 seconds, fitting the peaks of interest, re-calibrating the energy scale, and performing a chemical analysis. The new chemical analysis method, based on the shown decision tree logic, attempts to identify the chemical inside the object under test. The new probabilistic method traces through every path in the decision tree, and computes a score for each possible content chemical. The chemical with the highest score is chosen as the content chemical.
The new chemical analysis method is faster and more accurate, plus it is easier to expand the list of chemicals that PINS can identify automatically. Currently, the PINS auto analysis software recognizes the chemicals shown below.
|Chemical Warfare Agents