Nuclear Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-9-2018


Modern ultraviolet (UV) cameras, when combined with UV-transmitting lenses/filter arrangements, can be used to detect radiation dose in air. Ionizing radiation excites nitrogen molecules in ambient air, the resulting decay includes weak emission of ultraviolet photons. Previous work has proven this phenomenon is detectable using highly-sensitive electronically cooled cameras traditionally used in astronomy for low-background imaging. While the ability to detect the presence of radiation (i.e. qualitative measurement) has been demonstrated at Sandia National Laboratories, there are several challenges in correlating images to known dose-fields (quantitative measurement). These challenges include: a low signal to background ratio, interferences due to electronic noise and direct radiation interactions with the camera, and a complex source-dependent detection efficiency. Based on measurements of low-level radioactive sources as well as high-level sources at several irradiation facilities at Sandia National Laboratories, researchers are developing deeper understanding of these challenges in an attempt to engineer a system that can be used for quantitatively measuring radiation dose fields remotely. This thesis will describe these efforts and share the lessons learned from several experiments.


Optical Detection of Radiation, Nuclear Engineering, Radiation Detection


Defense Threat Reduction Agency

Document Type




Degree Name

Nuclear Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Nuclear Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Adam Hecht

Second Committee Member

Cassiano de Oliveira

Third Committee Member

Jeffrey Martin

Fourth Committee Member

Richard Harrison

Fifth Committee Member

Charles Potter