Clandestine Materials Detection, Inc. (CMD) is a spin-out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison that has developed a patented approach to detecting concealed explosives that is safe to humans. The technology can identify chemical signatures of devices such as landmines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), nuclear weapons, chemical weapons and dirty bombs. This unique technology enables detection at large distances, enabling safe and actionable remediation.
The explosives in landmines have a unique “fingerprint” of H, N, O, and C and can be detected by neutron activation analysis through an analysis of the gamma-ray spectrum emitted after being bombarded with a particular neutron flux spectrum. Of particular significance is the ratio of the 10.829 MeV capture gamma-ray from Nitrogen-14 to the 2.223 MeV capture gamma-ray from Hydrogen-1. There have been previous studies of the detection of this unique composition by passing the explosives past a stationary neutron source. However, the identification of IEDs or landmines in the field requires bringing the detection device to the explosive. One such approach is to use a wheeled vehicle with a neutron source hanging off the front of the vehicle. While such a system has value in special environments, it is difficult to cover large off-road areas in a short time and the vehicle itself is potentially vulnerable to the explosives.
The Red Rover System in standard setup with (red arrows) showing neutron bombardment and (green arrows) showing gamma ray spectrum emitted after neutron activation of explosive components.
Clandestine Materials Detection (CMD) has developed a novel approach to detecting concealed explosives that removes the potential loss of human life from the detection equation. The technology can identify nuclear signatures of devices such as landmines, IEDs, nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, and dirty bombs through proprietary nuclear detection and signature analysis methods. This unique technology set enables standoff distances of up to 1 km distances and scanning of large areas quickly and accurately, even without line of sight and under up to 1 meter of water or soil.
The system is comprised of (1) a vehicle containing a small conventional electrical power source and power beaming equipment, (2) a drone that uses beamed RF power from the vehicle to produce neutrons in a proprietary Red Rover low-weight, fusion neutron generator that interrogates the searchable area, (3) one or more detection drones that can detect gamma rays produced when explosive materials are present, and (4) a simple user interface for location analysis and creating an actionable remediation plan. The power relay components, if needed, can be mounted on various mobile units and configurations as required (more altitude, tree cover, surf, etc.).
a vehicle containing a small conventional electrical power source and power beaming equipment,
a drone that uses beamed RF power from the vehicle to produce neutrons in a proprietary Red Rover low-weight, fusion neutron generator that interrogates the searchable area,
one or more detection drones that can detect gamma rays that the neutrons produced when explosive materials are present, and
a simple user interface for location analysis and creating an actionable remediation plan. The power relay components, if needed, can be mounted on various mobile units and configurations as required (more altitude, tree cover, surf, etc.).
There is no technology presently used or available that can cover large areas rapidly (≈ 4 square meters/second) and detect explosives in non-metallic cases down to 1 meter below the surface. Also, we have not found anyone using beamed RF power to run a significant payload on small drones. Clandestine Material Detection Inc.’s competitive advantage is that the technology can be used at large standoff distances between the humans and the explosive material, can cover large areas in much shorter times than conventional detection devices, and provides detection underground or underwater at a much safer distance than any other technology. CMD’s technology is mobile, cost-effective, and the only real long-range chemical detection solution available.
Clandestine Materials Detection Inc.’s solution would drastically reduce the time and cost of detection, eventual removal, and loss of life due to explosive material. The primary value will be determined based on the number of lives that can be saved and the reduction in harm to people who might trigger undetected buried landmines or be injured by adversaries exploding IEDs. A drone carrying a neutron source can systematically cover a much larger area than can a typical soldier or civilian on foot, so the cost per land mine detected should drop considerably along with the time it takes to detect them.