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Novel Radiation Detector Wins R&D 100 Award

Ralph James, left, and Alexsey Bolotnikov

Ralph James, left, and Alexsey Bolotnikov of the Lab's Radiation Detector and Nonprliferation R&D Group, examine the components of GammaScout.

Brookhaven Lab recently won an R&D 100 Award for GammaScout, a compact system that provides detailed spectroscopic and imaging information about the presence and distribution of x-ray and gamma-ray radiation in a sample or area. R&D Magazine gives R&D 100 Awards annually to the top 100 technological achievements of the year. Typically, these are innovations that transform basic science into useful products. 

"These awards recognize the tremendous value of our National Labs," said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. "Research and development at the National Labs continues to help our nation address its energy challenges and pursue the scientific and technological innovations necessary to remain globally competitive."

GammaScout is a compact, high position-resolution cadmium-zinc-telluride (CZT) radiation detector that is coupled with novel low-noise pulse processing electronics and high-performance image acquisition software. The compact, handheld unit identifies the elemental composition of materials based on their x-ray fluorescence. Potential applications for GammaScout include tracking the movement of radioactive materials and imaging radiopharmaceuticals in oncology and cardiology settings.

The principal advantage of CZT detectors is that they offer high-resolution spectroscopic data at room temperature.  Previously, instruments for detecting and imaging gamma-rays and hard x-rays were largely confined to laboratory environments because they use germanium detectors that must be cryogenically cooled for operation. 

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2014-5066  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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Scheduling Experiments Much Easier with Lab's New LION

Takeshi Kanesue (left) and Masahiro Okamura

Takeshi Kanesue (left) and Masahiro Okamura at the new Laser Ion Source (LION).

Microwaving popcorn never quite turns out right. Inevitably, some kernels remain unpopped while others burn. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory were experiencing a similar phenomenon with their ion source, the device that feeds singly ionized atoms into the particle accelerators that supply beams to the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) and the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL).

Some ions reached the optimum charge state, while others didn’t have enough charge or had too much.

But in March of this year, a new Laser Ion Source (LION) started operating. LION allows superfast switching of ion species to feed beams into either RHIC, which recreates the conditions of the early universe, or NSRL, which can now more realistically simulate the radiation astronauts would experience in deep space.

LION delivers a burst of intense current to the Electron Beam Ion Source (EBIS), the next link in the accelerator chain feeding RHIC and NSRL, which increases the ion’s charge state by stripping its electrons. The required injection time into EBIS is much less than for the previous ion source, so scientists can throw a bowl of popcorn kernels – ions – into the “microwave” with one action instead of filling it over time. That allows them to get all of the ions needed to the desired charge state all at once. Getting to this charge state gives the ions the positive electric charge they need in order to be accelerated by powerful electric fields down the line before they reach RHIC and NSRL.

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2014-5067  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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Camp Upton Artifacts on Display at L.I. Museum

sheet music from well-known American composer Irving Berlin and a bugle from the World War I era

Items from Camp Upton on display.

When the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook decided to launch an exhibit on “Long Island at War,” it wasn’t a surprise that contacting Brookhaven Lab would be on their “to do” list. After all the Lab site, originally Camp Upton during World War I and World War II, had an interesting and rich history long before it became Brookhaven National Laboratory where physicists could study peaceful uses of the atom and lead the Lab to become a world-class scientific institution. Before there were accelerators, light sources, nano centers, and biology and chemistry buildings, the site was home to barracks, officers’ quarters, and training trenches. The Camp served as an induction and training camp during World War I, and later as an induction camp and military rehabilitation center for returning soldiers during World War II. 

Over the years, the Laboratory has received many military items relating to Camp Upton, donated by members of the community. According to Tim Green, the Lab’s Cultural Resource manager, the Lab now holds quite a collection of artifacts that includes sheet music from well-known American composer Irving Berlin and a bugle from the World War I era, as well as military uniforms, diaries, and photos.

The Long Island Museum exhibit featuring some of these items will run through December 28, 2014. Also included in the Long Island at War exhibit are items from the Roosevelt estate and Grumman Aerospace Corporation.

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2014-5068  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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  • July 30 – Noon Recital – Musicians from Pianofest, a summer workshop held in the Hamptons, will perform. Berkner Hall Auditorium.
  • July & August – Community Advisory Council summer break.
  • August 3 – Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) Summer Sunday. Don’t miss the last open house of 2014! Gates open at 10 a.m.

*The events above are free and open to the public. Visitors 16 and over must bring a photo ID for access to BNL events.

2014-5069  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office