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Measurements and Standards for Bulk-Explosive Detection



Lawrence T. Hudson, Fred B. Bateman, Paul M. Bergstrom, Frank Cerra, Jack L. Glover, Ronaldo Minniti, Stephen M. Seltzer, Ronald E. Tosh


Due to the ease of assembly and leveraged disruptive effect, the improvised explosive device (IED) is the method of choice of today’s terrorist. With more than ten thousand IED incidents annually, and global expenditures for aviation and commercial security in the hundreds of billions of dollars, there is a pressing need to develop, apply, and harmonize standards for x-ray and gamma-ray screening systems used to detect explosives and other contraband. The Ionizing Radiation Division at NIST has been facilitating the development of measurement standards that can be used to gauge the technical performance (imaging quality) and radiation safety of systems used to screen luggage, persons, vehicles, cargo, and left-behind objects. After a review of this new framework of national standard test methods, test objects, and radiation-measurement protocols, we will highlight some of the technical trends that are enhancing the revision of baseline standards. Finally we advocate a more intentional use of these standards by security stakeholders and outline the advantages this would accrue.
Applied Radiation and Isotopes


bulk-explosives detection, improvised-explosive devices, radiation safety, security standards, technical performance, test objects


Hudson, L. , Bateman, F. , Bergstrom, P. , Cerra, F. , Glover, J. , Minniti, R. , Seltzer, S. and Tosh, R. (2012), Measurements and Standards for Bulk-Explosive Detection, Applied Radiation and Isotopes, [online], (Accessed April 15, 2024)
Created May 31, 2012, Updated February 19, 2017