Radiation detection instruments are important for homeland security—to protect the public by preventing illicit transportation and use of nuclear materials. Portable detectors based on scintillation crystals or cryogenically cooled germanium exist on the market but are expensive and cannot be easily used by many inspectors or first responders simultaneously.


LLNL scientists have developed a radiation detection network that uses solid state detectors (e.g. CZT) coupled to cellular telephones. Detection of gamma and/or neutron radiation is possible with high sensitivity. A network of cellular phones GPS locations and their detection data can be correlated for real-time analysis of potential nuclear threats.


  • Handheld cellular phone-based radiation detection
  • Real-time network analysis of an entire coverage area
Potential Applications

Nuclear source and device detection for the safety and security of first responders, border patrol agents, customs and coast guard officers and other law enforcement officials.

Development Status

Prototypes have been developed and tested. The technology is described in U.S. Patent 7,148,484.

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