The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is seeking proposals on technologies that would combine the imaging capabilities of neutron radiography and the portability of X-ray as part of its Intense and Compact Neutron Sources program.
DARPA said Wednesday the program intends to explore high-voltage engineering, accelerator and plasma science, pulsed power and associated technologies to help develop an integrated neutron and X-ray portable imaging tool.
“We’re looking for innovative designs and construction methods to shrink a neutron accelerator from 10 meters or longer down to 1 meter or less, similar to the size of portable X-ray tubes today,” said Vincent Tang, program manager at DARPA.
The agency noted that while X-ray is widely used in commercial and military applications, it has limited capability in detecting light elements such as liquid.
Meanwhile, neutron radiography can reveal these elements but requires larger equipment and greater energy sources.
“[A] successful ICONS program would provide an imaging tool with significant national security applications, able to deliver very detailed, accurate internal imaging of objects in any setting,” Tang said.