Threats to our personal and collective safety abound in our society. The STG conducts and performs research to advance the technology and measurement science of concealed threat and contraband sensing and imaging. This work includes the establishment of test and evaluation tools, reference test beds, test artifacts, and documentary standards through leadership in standardization bodies. The STG currently has detection projects in millimeter-wave imaging, x-ray imaging, infrared imaging, through-barrier radar sensing and imaging, and metal detection.
Most testing and evaluation (T&E) of the sensing and imaging performance of security technologies has been, heretofore, based on the sensing and imagin
Millimeter-wave for application in security screening and imaging has been an area of intense research over the last few years because of the possibility to confer both acceptable spatial resolution (mm-level) and penetration of clothing and some packaging materials. There are both active and passive designs. The STG in collaboration with NIST Div. 687 has developed a state-of-the-art passive millimeter-wave imaging system based on cryoelectronic sensor arrays. This system will be the basis for the development of NIST’s millimeter-wave imager metrology, including the development of test artifacts, test and evaluation protocols, and international documentary standards.
X-ray imaging is used is used throughout the country by law enforcement officers, at the borders, in the military and in
Infrared imaging is a very common safety, security, surveillance, and intelligence-gathering technology. Although the infrared (IR) range is
NIST is developing the metrology to establish objective test and evaluation protocols for these imagers and, in collaboration with the University of Texas – Austin, possibly developing new objective image quality metrics, and develop methods for correlating these new metrics or traditional image quality metrics to human task performance.
Through-barrier sensing and imaging provides the ability to see through nonmetallic optically opaque barriers, such as walls or rubble, for location and tracking of people and imaging of behind-barrier scenes, and can be achieved using radar-based systems. Applications and users of through-barrier radar include law enforcement, military, and emergency response. NIST is conducting research in through-barrier radar to advance metrology associated with this technology that will ultimately lead to the development of performance standards. Through collaboration with industry and the user community, NIST is identifying the critical parameters which may be used to quantify the performance of through-barrier radar systems. NIST operates laboratory based through-barrier radar detection and imaging systems to develop test methods and test objects to measure these critical parameters. Additionally, NIST is developing a library of sample walls that are representative of commercial/industrial and residential construction for use in through-barrier radar testing and measurement.
Metal detection is the most commonly-used technology for finding metallic threats concealed on people. Hand-held metal detectors (HHMDs) and walk-through metal detectors (WTMDs) are common at almost all security checkpoints worldwide. Other types of metal detectors deployed in security applications include hand-worn metal detectors, that are donned similarly to gloves or strapped to the palm, and ground search devices, similar in operation to treasure-seeking metal detectors but designed specifically to find items related to threat objects.