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Time-of-Flight X-Ray Compton Scatter Imaging for Cargo Security

25 March 2013

Nick Calvert

Transporting goods via shipping container is the most efficient mode of transport and makes up over 90% of the world's trade. Securing these containers is therefore of high importance. Current cargo imaging techniques consist of high energy transmission imaging and low energy Compton scatter imaging. These provide two dimensional images which can be large and contain many complex, overlapping objects. In partnership with Rapiscan Systems Ltd, a new three dimensional x-ray imaging technique for cargo screening is explored by building on the work done during the MRes project.  The suggested technique combines Time-of-Flight information with Compton scatter imaging to recover depth of interaction information and hence three dimensional images. Three dimensional image formation will lead to easier image analysis, increased efficiency, and reduced false positive rates. The present work focuses on implementing the technique in both a laboratory setting and a real life setting. Using laboratory x-ray sources allows the limits of the technique to be explored in a controllable way, whilst using 'off the shelf' x-ray sources allows the technique to be used in a real life setting. It is hoped that the present work will lead to the next generation of cargo imaging systems.