Paper Published in “SPIE. Digital Library”: Development of a High-Energy X-ray Diffractometer for Quality Control Evaluation of Next-Generation Transportation Security X-ray Imaging Systems


The Transportation Security Laboratory of the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate is tasked with establishing quality control metrics for assessing the performance of x-ray imaging technologies used by airport security. In conformity with that mission, a high-energy x-ray diffraction apparatus was constructed to characterize the xray diffraction properties of common household items as well as explosives and other potential threats. Current x-ray imaging technologies may rely on identifying potential threats in baggage and cargo based on their size, shape, and x-ray attenuating properties. Future technologies are anticipated to include diffraction information that could more specifically identify materials within baggage and cargo based on their chemical and physical composition. As a result, an understanding of the diffraction properties of goods that may be brought onto airplanes is vital for future assessments of these emerging technologies. To gauge the utility of using the diffractometer for quality control evaluations and material identification, a group of common materials were examined, and the dependence of scattering on momentum transfer was measured.

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Alexander J. DeMasi,a Alexander D. Gordon,a Joel B. Rovner,a Joshua Stroker,a Ronald A. Kraussb

aSignature Science, LLC (United States)
bDept. of Homeland Security (United States)