The MMPDS Gen3 system uses a constant flux of naturally occurring muons and electrons, emanating from cosmic rays, to scan containers or other conveyances for threats or materials of interest. This is accomplished by measuring the scattering density and the stopping power of the muons and electrons as they pass through materials within the scan volume.
The MMPDS Gen3 system uses this unique data provided by the particle interactions and processes it through multiple proprietary algorithms. Based on the information provided by each of these algorithms, containers and conveyances are either automatically cleared or the operator is notified with additional action necessary via one or more of the above mentioned MMPDS Gen3 detection capabilities.
MMPDS Gen3 also provides 3-dimensional (3-D) visualizations that the operators can manipulate and use as an additional decision-making resource.
The MMPDS Gen3 Environmental Enclosure (building) is the physical structure that contains and protects the MMPDS Gen3 detector hardware and electronics. The specifications for the enclosure depend on the intended implementation and the configuration of the product purchased. This structure can be a freestanding building or an existing, retro-fitted building, or can be an “all-in-one” building that contains the detector as well as a computing room and control booth or room. Regardless of the configuration, the enclosure typically sits atop a single concrete pad with a concrete encased trench where the bottom MMPDS Gen3 detector array is located.
A Computing Room and Control Room are needed.
The Computing Room is the space where the computing equipment providing computational and data storage systems are located. This can be a standalone structure or can be adjacent to, or part of, the Control Room. This building or room will contain all of the application servers, database servers, data storage and network equipment required to carry out software processing. It will have the appropriate power, communications and environmental conditioning systems necessary to support the computing operations of the MMPDS.
The Control Room is where the system operator is located and where the image monitors and other MMPDS Gen3 control systems are located. The system operator may be located either in the detector enclosure or in the Control Room. As previously stated, this could be its own structure or could be combined with the Physical Security Information Management/Command and Control (PSIM/C2) facilities if the MMPDS Gen3 has been installed in an existing, retrofitted building. The Control Room will contain all of the equipment necessary to control the MMPDS Gen3 and to conduct visual image analysis via high-resolution monitors and, like the Computing Room, will also contain the entire infrastructure necessary to carry out operations. The Control Room may also be used to allow site operators to control traffic flow and manage the site security in which case the size and specifications for the room will be adjusted.
Decision Sciences’ revolutionary MMPDS was originally invented at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in 2005. At the time, LANL was focusing on detection of shielded special nuclear material smuggled in dense cargo, such as gravel or steel, which could hide threats from an X-ray scanner by preventing penetration.
Through a cooperative research and development agreement Decision Sciences funded, through private investment, the construction of a prototype muon tomography tracking system. Today we refer to this original prototype as the “Generation 1”(Gen1) MMPDS system.
Decision Sciences became the worldwide exclusive licensee of LANL’s muon tomography intellectual property, including hardware, algorithms, and software. Generation 2 (Gen2) electronics (fully and independently developed by Decision Sciences) were applied to the original prototype drift tubes dramatically improving detection sensitivity, simplicity, and cost. With a new, more easily manufactured, less costly, and more rugged tube design, the Gen2 system was a huge leap in the marketization of the technology.
The Generation 3 (Gen3) MMPDS represents the culmination of many years of development and testing in a manufactured product that can be sold, distributed, and used around the world by customs agencies and other end-users who are interested in this revolutionary technology. An updated tube design has been developed for the Gen3 system, and the electronics have also been upgraded to provide superior detection performance, shorter scan times, and faster processing.
The table below summarizes the evolution in capability as the GEN3 MMPDS has developed.