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What is X-ray Materials Discrimination?

X-ray materials discrimination is the ability to distinguish between metals, inorganic and organic materials using an x-ray system. It is an effective tool that allows security specialists to identify explosives, guns, knives and other threats.  It is also used in areas such as industrial and medical applications.

Materials discrimination Blue means metal Metal pipe bombs, knives, guns, ammunition, hand grenades, nails, ball bearings, steel, iron, copper
Materials discrimination Green  means inorganic Aluminium, Salts, chlorates, black powder, Al powder, calcium nitrate, clay plumbers’ putty, clay
Materials discrimination Orange means organic Most explosives, water, wood, paper, food, soda, milk, flammable liquids

X-ray materials discrimination in portable X-Ray systems is challenging.  Most systems use pulsed x-ray sources which yield far less accurate materials images than cabinet or tunnel systems. Their accuracy, which needs to be constant across the image actually falls away rapidly as you look away from the calibration point.  At 3DX-ray we use a constant potential X-ray generator, together with LineScan detectors, to maintain its differential materials consistency imaging across the entire detector. 

Terrorists and criminals try to hide their weapons, bombs or contraband items and trick X-ray systems and operatives into missing them.  A common method is to hide things behind or inside something that blocks the x-ray.  To overcome this, we introduced a “Probe” function. “Probe” can virtually peel away dense blocking layers allowing you to examine items behind them.  You can even identify organic and inorganic material behind the block based on the material’s average effective atomic number (Zeff). This is NOT like the standard organic, inorganic, and metals imaging buttons on cabinet x-rays.

3DX-Ray’s “Probe” function virtually peels away dense blocking layers allowing users to examine what is behind them

3DX-Ray’s “Probe” function virtually peels away dense blocking layers allowing users to examine what is behind them.