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Institute for Commercialization

Non-destructive method to detect whether a certain type of material is present inside an object from a standoff distance

Reference Number: K 07-17

Inventors: Dunn, William L.

Owner: Kansas State University Research Foundation


Invention Summary

Current material detection methods include trace and nuclear-based detection. Trace detection includes chemoluminescence, ion mobility spectrometry, mass spectrometry and others. A disadvantage of many types of trace detection is that they require collection of or analysis of material close to the target. Nuclear-based detection includes thermal and fast neutron analysis, photon radiography, pulsed techniques, and others. Although these are powerful detection methods, they seek to measure, quantify, or display all the materials in a target rather than to quickly identify the presence of a single material. This leads to longer detection time, greater calculations, and more interpretation of the data.


This invention provides for a robust, multi-source, back-streaming detection method to determine whether or not a target contains a certain level of an expected material. Because it does not seek to determine the entire composition of the target, detection can be performed quickly and with less analysis. The detector can be operated remotely, providing operators a safe distance of one Km or more. Furthermore, all components can be operated at standoff distances of meters. The system can “learn” a variety of targets and expected material presence within. Operators then visually receive a yes, no, or further inspection indication from the detector, simplifying interpretation of results.


  • IED detection

  • Explosives detection

  • Drug detection

  • Buried mines or unexploded ordnances

  • Detection of a wide variety of contraband

  • Material detection in a product within a given confidence interval