Technology International Incorporated 0f Virginia
U.s. DARPA

A Mine and Explosives Detection Capability Employing X Rays (MINDECX)

CUSTOMER:  DARPA, Arlington, VA

CONTRACT #: DAAH01-88-C-0753

STARTING DATE: 8-30-88

DURATION:   6 months

AMOUNT: $49,957

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Dr. Edwin D. Stevens

OTHER KEY PERSONNEL:  Sam A. Abolrous - Dr. Zeinab A. Sabri - Dr. Abdo A. Husseiny - Robert J. Donnelly - Sam Abolrous

TECHNICAL MONITOR: Tom Hafer, DARPA

PUBLICATIONS/REPORTS:

Stevens, Edwin D., Abolrous, Sam A., Sabri, Zeinab A., Husseiny, Abdo A., and Donnelly, Robert J. (1989, February).  A Mine and Explosives Detection Capability Employing X Rays (MINDECX). DARPA Contract # DAAHO1-88-C-O753, TII Rep # 7089110-R.

SUMMARY

A hand-held mine and explosives detection capability employing x-rays (MINEDECX) was developed based on dual-energy x-ray backscatter imaging.  The capability was developed for eventual fabrication and troop demonstration of an antipersonnel mine detection system capable of real time operation, at normal troop advance rates; high efficiency; high detection/false target ratios (signal-to-noise ratio); high reliability; negligible miss incidents; and low mass and manufacturing cost.  The operation of the MINEDECX provides sufficient standoff to avoid engaging a detected mine.

A preliminary design was established at the onset of the program and then refined, using computer simulation into a baseline proof-of-concept (BPOC) design.  Analytical and experimental verification demonstrated the capability of the BPOC to penetrate the soil cover and distinguish between typical mines and the background.  The use of dual-energy and multiple displaced detectors demonstrated the ability to provide the desired scanning for foot soldiers without interference from rough surfaces and irregularities in the terrain.

The detector consists of a 20kW rotating anode x-ray generator which switches between two x-ray energies at a rate of 60 switches/sec.  An oscillating collimator sweeps across an area of 60 cm at a rate of 1 sweep/sec, that is a forward speed of 120 cm/min can be achieved.  Four scintillation detectors with an area of 20 cm2 each are displaced at differing heights.  Both the source and detectors will be located approximately 30 cm above the surface.

The MINEDECX differentiates between mines and other objects both by the backscattering intensity and the image appearing on the CRT.  Hence, the detector capability can differentiate between a piece of wood and a mine due to the higher intensity of the backscattering detected from the wood (because of the low density) as well as the shape of the object.  The BPOC is designed for detection of a mine at depths in the range form 0 to 8.5 cm.  An opportunity for a miss or false alarm will arise only if the mine is buried deeper than the range specified for the detector or if the mine is masked by a large rock of the same image and density of the mine.  To enhance the discrimination between mines with metallic casings and pieces of metallic debris, such as shells, a metallic detector may be used in parallel with the MINEDECX to provide redundant capability.

The use of more than two switching energies would add unnecessary complexity with no significant increase in the sensitivity of the hand-held antipersonnel mine detector.  However, to provide a capability to detect deeply buried mines buried at depths in excess of 8-10 cm as well as surface mines, multiple energies may be useful.

Based on the BPOC design a prototype can be constructed at a reasonable cost using a two rotating anode set for scanning a foot path.  The prototype would be physically supported by an all terrain vehicle (ATV) which carries the power supply and a microprocessor.  The ATV support will minimize the load of the dismounted troops to allow for ease of movement, sweeping, and observation.  The ATV would also provide a physical shield from the scattered x-ray radiation in addition to a lead apron to assure safety of the soldier.  The prototype can be prepared for troop demonstration.

All components of the mine detection capability are off-the-shelf items which can be constructed in a manner appropriate for troop use.  The switching system is simple and relatively light generators are available.  Several future developments can be introduced after prototype demonstration to increase the range of detection and to extend the application to various types of mines.

PATENTS:

1.         Husseiny; Abdo A., Stevens; Edwin D., Sabri; Zeinab A. (November 25, 1997). Detection of concealed explosives and contraband. United States Patent 5,692,029; Technology International Incorporated (LaPlace, LA)

2.         Husseiny; Abdo A., Sabri; Zeinab A. (August 25, 1992). Explosive ordnance disposal and mine neutralization system. United States Patent 5,140,891; Technology International Incorporated (LaPlace, LA)

3.         Sabri; Zeinab A. (June 29, 1993). Rapid area clearance of explosives. United States Patent 5,223,661; Technology International Incorporated (LaPlace, LA)

4.         Husseiny; Abdo A., Sabri; Zeinab A. (October 5, 1993). Rapid area clearance of explosives. United States Patent 5,249,500; Technology International Incorporated (LaPlace, LA)

Patent #1 Abstract

The invention is a detector for detection of concealed explosives, drugs and contraband using x-rays imaging and powder pattern techniques and ultrasonics. In case of inspection of carry-on baggage a combination of computer-aided x-ray transmission imaging and x-ray diffraction analysis is used to screen; confirm and localize threats. The x-ray transmission is used to segregate dense baggage and cargo which are inspected by x-ray backscatter imaging to identify suspicious objects. All suspicious objects are carefully analyzed by x-ray diffraction. In another embodiment a slow processing system uses diffraction for identification of threats and x-ray radiography for localization of the objects. In case of drugs concealed in compartments aboard marine vessels or air crafts a hand-held x-ray system is disclosed which can be used in three modes of operation: x-ray transmission, x-ray backscatter, or x-ray diffraction dependent on the architecture of the compartment. In case of buried mines an oscillating dual-energy x-ray backscatter imaging is used for antipersonnel mines and a combination of x-ray backscatter imaging and prompt gamma detectors is used for antivehicle and antiaircraft mines. Ultrasonic detectors are disclosed for detection of explosives on persons. Also, a tracking system based on bar-code identification system and a central computer is disclosed for baggage.

Patent #2 Abstract

A system and process for neutralizing unexploded ordinances and clearing explosive infested areas such that maneuvers can be both readily and confidently continued without significant delay is disclosed. The system clears such unexploded ordnances infested areas by initially spraying the explosive infested area with a cryogenic liquid to neutralize the unexploded ordinances and reduce an output voltage of a detonator of the unexploded ordinances thereby rendering the unexploded ordinances inert, gathering the now unexploded ordinances and submerging the inert unexploded ordinances in a tank containing the same or similar cryogenic liquid so that the unexploded ordinances are maintained in a neutralized and inert state to allow for disposal. Alternatively, the neutralization of unexploded ordinance and clearing of explosive infested areas may be carried out by spraying the explosive infested area with liquefied methane to neutralize the unexploded ordinance and reduce an output voltage of a detonator of the unexploded ordinances to render such ordinance inert, igniting the liquefied methane, deflagrating the unexploded ordinances at a temperature less than that required for detonation and subsequently removing the neutralized ordinances from the explosive infested area.

Patent #3 Abstract

A system and process for neutralizing unexploded ordnances and clearing explosive infested areas such that maneuvers can be both readily and confidently continued without significant delay is disclosed. The system clears such unexploded ordnances infested areas by initially spraying the explosive infested area with a cryogenic liquid to neutralize the unexploded ordnances and reduce an output voltage of a detonator of the unexploded ordnances thereby rendering the unexploded ordnances inert, gathering the now unexploded ordnances and submerging the inert unexploded ordnances in a tank containing the same or similar cryogenic liquid so that the unexploded ordnances are maintained in a neutralized and inert state to allow for disposal. Alternatively, the neutralization of unexploded ordnance and clearing of explosive infested areas may be carried out by spraying the explosive infested area with liquefied methane to neutralize the unexploded ordnance and reduce an output voltage of a detonator of the unexploded ordnances to render such ordnance inert, igniting the liquefied methane, deflagrating the unexploded ordnances at a temperature less than that required for detonation and subsequently removing the neutralized ordnances from the explosive infested area.

Patent #4 Abstract

A system and process for neutralizing unexploded ordinances and clearing explosive infested areas such that maneuvers can be both readily and confidently continued without significant delay is disclosed. The system clears such unexploded ordnances infested areas by initially spraying the explosive infested area with a cryogenic liquid to supercool the unexploded ordinances and reduce an output voltage of a detonator of the unexploded ordinances thereby rendering the unexploded ordinances inert, gathering the now unexploded ordinances and submerging the inert unexploded ordinances in a tank containing the same or similar cryogenic liquid so that the unexploded ordinances are maintained in a supercooled and inert state to allow for disposal. Alternatively, the neutralization of unexploded ordinance and clearing of explosive infested areas may be carried out by spraying the explosive infested area with liquefied methane to supercool the unexploded ordinance and reduce an output voltage of a detonator of the unexploded ordinances to render such ordinance inert, igniting the liquefied methane, deflagrating the unexploded ordinances at a temperature less than that required for detonation and subsequently removing the neutralized ordinances from the explosive infested area.