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JAXA Creates Camera That Can See Radiation 49

Posted by timothy
from the predator-mecha-are-next dept.
New submitter Ben_R_R writes "The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has created a camera that can 'see' radioactive contamination by detecting gamma rays emitted by radioactive cesium and other substances. The camera has been tested in the disaster evacuation zone around Fukushima. The image captures levels of radiation in six different colors and overlays the result over an image captured with a wide angle lens."
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JAXA Creates Camera That Can See Radiation

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  • Where is the data? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So where is the data on how accurate it actually is? How does it work???

    For example, this is informative.

    http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/features/exhibit/glast_exhibit.html [nasa.gov]

    TFA about this device is useless.

    • by Michael Woodhams (112247) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @03:05AM (#39532699) Journal

      I was wondering the same.

      Detecting gamma rays is pretty easy. Detecting within a few degrees which direction they came from is much harder. Lenses and mirrors won't work (at least, at any reasonable scale) to form an image. You could have two layers of detector, and measure the location of the gamma ray as it passes through both. You could look for Compton scattered electrons from the gamma ray, which would be easier to determine the direction of, but I don't think that would fit in something camera sized.

      I'm also curious to know what exposure time the gamma ray camera needs - I'm guessing it will be pretty long - minutes, at least, maybe hours.

      • by mocm (141920) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @03:24AM (#39532755) Homepage

        I saw the camera on NHK World and it is not what you may think is camera sized. It is a big cube with about 1 m sides. It also includes a small optical camera, so that you get a composite of the visual picture and the gamma radiation distribution. It is supposed to be used to check the buildings in contaminated areas and see where the radioaktive material is located.

      • by Old Wolf (56093)

        You could have two layers of detector, and measure the location of the gamma ray as it passes through both.

        Photons don't work like this; if you measure its position at one point then its momentum is undefined. (In classical terms, one would say that the photon interacts with the first detector, e.g. gets diffracted)

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Detecting gamma rays is pretty easy. Detecting within a few degrees which direction they came from is much harder. Lenses and mirrors won't work (at least, at any reasonable scale) to form an image.

        Well, the obvious solution to how it works is light-field imaging. To which you may have heard of the Lytro camera that allows one to take pictures and refocus them later. A light-field camera takes not only the intensity of the light hitting it, but also direction (allowing for refocusing).

        Since a gamma ray is

    • by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @05:02AM (#39532999)
      This gamma ray camera from the same institute [kyoto-u.ac.jp] may be something related? It seems to use Scintilation from a dislocated electron (which gives away path and energy) combined with the point of impact of the gamma ray on a detector plate.
    • by Viadd (173388)

      There are two main imaging techniques that work in moderate-energy gamma-rays: Coded Aperture [nasa.gov] which use a shadow mask; and Compton Imaging [stanford.edu].

      According to this article [enformable.com] the camera uses Compton Imaging. In this technique you look at gamma rays that scatter off of one detector and into another. Each detector tells you where the interaction occurred and how much energy was deposited. From this information, you can derive for each gamma ray that it came from somewhere on a hollow cone (with its tip at the first

  • The topic is funny (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Fri13 (963421)

    When I readed the topic, I just tought "Oh, someone invented Camera what can see light, AMAZING!"
    Of course I know it was only about ionizing radiation and not just anykind radiation like visible light.

    • ... I am more suprised by the fact that they made a camera that can "see" at all. Mine doesn't, it just stores digitized pictures on a memory card.
    • I'm pretty sure that I remember radiation from nuclear decay being discovered because it fogged photographic film, so the idea of a camera that detects it is not exactly novel. Presumably the real news is the sensitivity - being able to detect a lump of uranium by putting a photographic plate next to it for 12 hours is not nearly as useful as having it show up when you take a quick picture.
    • by Goaway (82658)

      Detecting the radiation is trivial. Even any old digital camera sensor can do that. The trick is detecting where it came from. A regular camera uses a lens to accomplish this. However, lenses don't work on gamma rays.

  • by Walt Dismal (534799) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @02:57AM (#39532667)

    Oh great, now we're going to be overwhelmed with Japanese tourists taking pictures of radioactive things!

    Shot 1: Dad and the kids smiling at camera and glowing in dark.

    Shot 2: Look! Our Toyota doesn't need headlights!

    Shot 3. Mr. Fujimoto and his radioactive shoes!

    Shot 4. Godzilla. No, really, Godzilla. Run!

    • Oh great, now we're going to be overwhelmed with Japanese tourists taking pictures of radioactive things!

      Great scene; but it's really funny how the "Japanese tourist" meme has so much died out. We're all Japanese tourists now, with the average teenage girl much more intrusive than they ever were (I never remember a Japanse tourist who wasn't really careful not to get in the way with his camera...the main problem was always the way the waited politely for everybody to be gone making you feel a bit rude for walking through the scene.. ). It's really amazing how they were so much fore runners of modern "western

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Poor headline, since I immediately thought:...camera sees radiation...meh...don't all cameras see electromagnetic radiation?...usually in the visible range?

  • The article doesn't discuss how this will be implemented. Are they taking overhead shots of Fukushima to see where there is still leakage? I am not a radiation expert, but I don't understand how this would be more effective than a geiger counter. If anybody has any insight I would gladly read a response or any links to some more information.
  • The Japanese are being resourceful and inventive in the face of horrible circumstances, and have come up with something great.

    I am, however, still curious what necessitated the invention of certain TV game shows, the "chewing chewing chewing" song, and anime tentacle monsters.

  • by gr7 (933549) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @08:05AM (#39533527)

    On one picture you can see how the visual image and the gamma radiation agree at the corner of a wall. You can see that the radiation spot turns 90 degrees with the bottom edge of the wall and how the radioactive materials kind of puddled near the bottom of the wall. It's cool to see that the two images agree.

    Also there is video of the actual camera which is pretty big and not so portable. You probably want to keep it in a car most of the time.

    http://www.japanprobe.com/2012/03/30/camera-can-see-radiation/ [japanprobe.com]

  • One more sensor to add....

  • by mattr (78516) <mattr&telebody,com> on Saturday March 31, 2012 @11:35AM (#39534785) Homepage Journal

    The English article edited out some information that was in the Japanese article.

    Currently it doesn't tell you the precise amount of radiation being emitted but you get an idea of the highs and lows from it.

    The technology that was developed for a detector installed in Japan's next-generation astronomical observatory satellite, the Astro H, to observe gamma ray bursts caused by astronomical events such as old stars exploding into supernovae. JAXA's Professor Tadayuki Takahashi who developed it says, "I want to aim at making this a practical tool quickly." And here is the Prof. Takahashi's cool page [isas.jaxa.jp] and Japanese version [isas.jaxa.jp] which shows news items too.

    You will find several English papers on his work by Google: "High-Resolution CdTe Detectors and Application to Gamma-Ray Imaging"

    Finally there are links from the Japanese page to a lot of detailed info about the gamma ray camera, though in Japanese there are PDFs including with photos of the supermarket experiment: here [www.jaxa.jp],pdf 1 [www.jaxa.jp]. pdf2 [www.jaxa.jp], here [isas.jaxa.jp].

  • If this becomes commercially available... and if Cavendish survives that long

  • Sounds like an April Fools joke a day early for many of us.

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