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Past Solicitations
FY08 Phase 8.1

FY08 Phase 8.1 (DNDO)

DNDO Topics

08.1-1 - Signal Processing Algorithms to Nominate Potential Targets and Eliminate False Positives in the Non-Intrusive Inspection of Cargo Conveyances

The Department of Homeland Security Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is involved in developing technology to examine cargo entering into the United States. There is a need to provide operators with a capability to nominate potential contra-band that are contained in the cargo conveyances. The proposed solutions should be in a stand-alone software package that can receive the x-ray data as files over standard computer interfaces and output the results as files over the same hardware interface. Threat materials can take many shapes and therefore an emphasis should be placed on anomaly detection instead of specific shape detection. Current state of the art in detection of contraband relies on human operators which can result in a high false positive rate. The goal is to maintain human operator performance in the detection of contraband and to reduce the false positive rate of the overall process (human operator and signal processing combined). The other need is to have the signal processing greatly reduce the time required to examine a truck or cargo conveyance image. The typical average time to examine a truck x-ray image is 2 to 3 minutes.

08.1-2 - Fast, Solid-State, Prompt Neutron Detectors Capable of Operating in Non-Invasive Interrogation Environments

The Department of Homeland Security Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) is involved in developing technology to examine cargo entering into the United States, sometimes using active interrogation (AI) or Non-Invasive Interrogation (NII). Active Interrogation imposes extra demands on the neutron and gamma detection systems in the way of speed, discrimination, robustness, and spectral capabilities. These performance parameters have to be achieved within reasonable cost and manufacturability. The objective is to develop solid-state neutron detectors which are capable of operating in active (as well as passive) interrogation environments. This requires fast (nsec or less) response times, robust radiation hardened detectors capable of operating in or near the interrogation beam, be it neutron or gamma ray, high gamma rejection and/or discrimination, low cost, and reliable manufacturability. High-efficiency and low-cost per unit area is the goal, but consideration will be given to lower efficiency if accompanied with very low fabrication costs per large area units. He-3 tube technology within appropriate enclosures should be the standard with which to compare for cost and efficiency. New materials and detector systems, or new methods of improving existing candidate materials and detectors, are sought.

08.1-3 - Analytical techniques and instrumentation used in determining the origin and transit route of nuclear materials

The proposed research should emphasize advancements in the analytical techniques and instrumentation used in determining the origin and transit route of nuclear materials. These developments need to be applicable in providing assistance to law enforcement, federal, and international agencies responsible for oversight in the proliferation of these materials and in the identification of their origin. An emphasis is being given to identifying ways to improve instrumentation and techniques for the physical, chemical, radiological or morphological analysis of nuclear or radioactive materials and any associated materials. Applications include determination of the origins, transport and use of these materials as well as prevention of their use. Acceptable studies can emphasize improvements in existing methods and instrumentation for chemical and radiological characterization, as well as the development of novel, advanced approaches. Improvements in the separation or analysis of non-nuclear material associated with nuclear materials, as well as automation, are also considered to be within the scope of this work. In addition, research studies which identify ways to improve on current utilization of "signatures" which can be used to identify source materials in the nuclear fuel cycle are encouraged. Potential topics include, but are not limited to: 1) Field radiochemistry kit for rapid analysis and positive ID of interdicted materials by alpha spectrometry 2) Chemically reactive surfaces with specific affinity for actinide sorption for micro-scale chemical separations of actinides (useful for sample isotopic analysis by TIMS / age dating of U & Pu) 3) Devices capable of sorting particles, e.g., isolation of actinide particles from dust (such as density based separation) or isolation of biological particles (pollen, etc) from U or Pu oxides 4) Field collection kits for collecting biological samples (urine, blood, hair, etc) from individuals potentially involved in the handling / transport of a radioactive material 5) Improved device for separation / isolation of oxygen from U / Pu oxides for stable isotope analysis (current methods are limited due to incomplete extraction of oxygen and interference from background of local oxygen)

08.1-4 - Non-Radioactive Alternatives or Techniques to Replace Radioactive Sources in Commercial Applications

In the past few years Congress and various government agencies have recognized the problem of orphaned radioactive sources worldwide. Such sources pose a security risk in the form of potential material for a "dirty bomb" or for other illicit applications. This SBIR topic seeks replacements for existing operating radioactive sources in two areas: well logging, and medical applications. Specifically, this SBIR topic seeks alternatives to the Americium-Beryllium (AmBe) sources used in the well-logging industry and any medical application where sealed radioactive sources are currently being used. However, solutions that also offer benefit as potential replacements for sealed sources used in other industries (e.g., food irradiation, industrial thickness and liquid level gauging, etc.) would be desirable. Each of these applications may be accomplished by alternate techniques (not requiring radioactive materials) or alternate sources of radiation to accomplish the tasks at hand. These alternate sources or techniques must achieve the full capabilities of the existing systems, but not require the use of a radioactive material. New ideas are sought, not simply implementations of commercial off-the-shelf retrofits. They must be financially viable, adding little extra cost in instrumentation compared to the replaced source. Their size, weight, and power requirements must not be so onerous as to prevent their use under the conditions normally envisioned for the application. Lastly, they must be sufficiently robust to withstand the temperatures, pressures, humidity, vibration, and shock encountered in the typical operating environment for the application. Concepts which cross several applications are especially desired.

Key Dates
Solicitation Open Date:
Submission Deadline:
07/16/2008 12:00 PM ET

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