Smiths Detection RadSeeker

Symetrica Discovery Technology is the Radiation detection and identification OEM Sub-System in the Smiths Detection RadSeeker®, for which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) has awarded an IDIQ (indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity) contract with a maximum value of $143 million for the technology, its maintenance and associated training.

The RadSeeker is a handheld, rugged and highly accurate radioisotope detector and identifier, specifically designed to meet the U.S. DHS mission requirements for a next-generation RID capable of detecting and identifying varied nuclear threats. Stakeholders from a wide variety of end user organizations were involved throughout the design process to ensure the RadSeeker is optimized for the environments and unique challenges of field use. This has led to its success being recognized at the highest levels as shown in an extract from written testimony of DNDO Director Huban Gowadia for a House Committee on Homeland Security:

“Based on the enhanced detection material lanthanum bromide and improved algorithms, this new handheld technology is easy-to-use, lightweight, and more reliable and, because it contains built-in calibration and diagnostics, has a much lower annual maintenance cost. An example of a successful acquisition program, the new system is receiving very positive reviews from operators in the field.”
[Huban Gowadia, Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies hearing titled “Emerging Threats and Technologies to Protect the Homeland” February 12, 2015]

Best-in-class ID: Real-world usability

Applications include customs inspection, border protection, emergency response, and radiological facilities/personnel monitoring. Users benefit from the RadSeeker’s ease of use and the quick, simple and specific information it provides for threat assessment. The hardware and software enclosed in the ruggedized RadSeeker case is designed to simplify a complicated radiological picture. Multiple alarms at several levels and in varying modes—audible, visible, vibratory, earphone – intuitively warn the user of the presence of radioactive sources. In addition to gamma counts per second, neutron counts per minute and radiation dose rate in micro- or milli-Sv, the organic LED screen displays the isotopes present, and, crucially, which ones are natural background and which ones are threats.

Connectivity including IEEE 802.11b/g/n wi-fi, ethernet and satellite phone connection via RF modem enables the transmission of detection information. Detections are time-stamped with location determined by latitude and longitude using global positioning satellites.

There is a choice of two enhanced gamma spectrometers; NaI (RadSeeker CS) and LaBr3 (RadSeeker CL). Both detect emissions in the 25 keV-3 MeV range and identify isotopes using Discovery Technology advanced algorithms with a customizable library of 41 nuclides. Due to the higher intrinsic resolution the RadSeeker CL is considered to deliver the ultimate capability in this class of instrument against masked, shielded and mixed sources. However, Smiths Detection’s comprehensive development program has ensured that the RadSeeker CS demonstrates superior performance even when compared under government tendering to competitive LaBr3 RIDS. This is achieved through the developments in Symetrica’s OEM signal processing (deconvolution), energy stabilization and ID performance. The RadSeeker Cl and CS deliver capabilities previously not seen in this class of radiation identifier.

More information on the RadSeeker from Smiths Detection can be found here and Smiths Detection’s press release about the $41m follow-on order from DNDO for RadSeeker can be found here.