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New Sensors Enable Enhanced Detection of Dirty Bombs, Other Hazards

Illustration of the The RFTrax RAD-CZT gamma radiation sensor. Image courtesy: RFTrax.

Sugar Land TX (SPX) Oct 14, 2005
Mine Safety Appliances is using groundbreaking RAD-CZT gamma-radiation sensors from RFTrax in a newly enhanced wireless system for detecting dirty bombs and other homeland security threats.

The new sensing capability, which is being incorporated into the next generation of MSA's SAFESITE System, was announced earlier today by the global safety equipment company.

MSA selected the RFTrax sensors based on their ability to differentiate background radiation from actual radiation threats. This level of sensitivity gives first responders a greater, more effective ability to detect radiological threats when compared to using conventional technologies, such as gamma-detection.

CZT technology -- short for Cadmium Zinc Telluride crystal detection -- is not new. For years this technology has been widely deployed in large-scale medical and laboratory instrumentation.

The MSA SAFESITE application, however, is significant because it marks one of the first uses of this technology in a compact, portable detection system, which requires small and lightweight sensors capable of operating on a limited power source.

RFTrax met this challenge through a unique design that allows it to produce low-cost CZT sensors capable of running for years on small batteries. The sensors, which are about the size of a disposable lighter, maintain CZT's principal performance benefit: sensitivity to low radiation levels, while also providing a broad dynamic-detection range.

This capability allows users to make sensitivity adjustments to the sensor -- minimizing false alarms that might otherwise be prompted by naturally occurring gamma radiation.

"Traditional gamma-detection technologies have very limited dynamic range," said Hal Haygood, president of RFTrax. "They fail to distinguish between low levels of non-harmful radiation and releases of higher and harmful radiation. As a result, emergency workers frequently deactivate their radiation detectors to eliminate the nuisance of false or meaningless alerts."

"After a thorough review of gamma radiation detection technologies available, it was apparent to us that the RAD-CZT sensor from RFTrax provided the design features and quality we require when integrating enabling technology into our products," said Kevin McKeigue, Product Group Manager for MSA.

"The sensor's unique performance specifications provide MSA and our customers with a distinct advantage in gamma-radiation detection for the Homeland Security, First Responder, Military and Industrial markets."

RFTrax introduced its RAD-CZT sensor in late 2003, and has made continuous advancements in the product's performance and functionality since then. The company also offers RFID-enabled CZT-sensor systems to detect low radiation levels in container shipments and other transportation systems.

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Northrop Grumman Announces Intent To Build System Integration Laboratory In Huntsville
Huntsville AL (SPX) Oct 14, 2005
Northrop Grumman Corporation has announced it intends to locate the system integration laboratory for its Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) missile-defense program at the company┐s new Cummings Research Park complex.

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