Jul 21, 2019 | Updated: 08:54 AM EDT

Detecting Radioactive From More Than 50 Miles Away Is Now Possible

Jun 12, 2017 07:52 PM EDT

A symbol for radioactivity is visible on a radioactively-contaminated container at Zwischenlager Nord temporary nuclear waste storage facility on June 8, 2011 in Lubmin, Germany.
(Photo : Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Remote detection of radioactive materials is now possible with the new device invented by scientists at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea, The new device used a high pulse of electromagnetic waves that can detect the radioactive substance from 100 kilometers (62 miles).

The traditional method to detect radioactive materials is using Geiger counter. But the instrument is unable to conduct a radioactive remote detection, as the Geiger counter is only effective in short range, therefore people must wear a protective suit as a precaution. The recent research from UNIST has discovered a new and much safer method to detect radioactive materials from a remote distance.

The new method is using the high pulse of electromagnetic waves, is proven to be effective to conduct a remote detection of radioactive materials. The research was led by a Professor at the UNIST, Eunmi Choi, which has published the research in the Nature Communications Journal.

"This method could scale to detect radioactivity at distances of at least tens of kilometers and possibly as far as 100 km," Professor Choi said on the remote detection of radioactive materials with the newly invented device. "Depending on the equipment used."

This new device is able to improve remote detection of radioactive materials by more than one hundred times. Furthermore, the new device has increased its sensitivity in detecting the radioactive 4,800 times higher compared to conventional theoretical sensitivity, thus enabling the detection of very small amounts of radiation.

Remote detection of radioactive materials will increase the safety of people who perform the detection. A radioactive substance is determined by its content of unstable nuclei and ionized radiation in form of alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays. Currently, the best available device to detect such substance is the Geiger counter, which has also become the standard device for radioactive detection.

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