National Security Technologies (NSTec), the company that runs the Nevada National Security Site, has teamed up with academia and private industry to prove the feasibility of new sensors for detecting the illicit trafficking of radioactive material.

The sensors employ newly developed nano-technology that "seeds" plastics with detection materials that are highly sensitive to the presence of radioactive materials. They are designed for use at border crossings, airports, and ports to detect the illicit trafficking of radioactive materials.

The nanoparticles were developed by the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), and the methods used to disperse the nanoparticles (into either oleic acid or clear plastic polymers) were developed by Dynasil Radiation Measurement Devices (RMD). The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and Georgia Tech were also involved in the project.

"By working together, we achieved results far beyond what any of the entities could have done individually," commented NSTec’s principal scientist Paul Guss.

NSTech said, 28 February that the team has proved the "feasibility" of the new technology, setting the stage for further development. The next phase of the project will include the transfer of technology from the laboratory demonstration to production and then implementation, it said.