Radionuclide identification algorithm for organic scintillator-based radiation portal monitor

Marc Gerrit Paff, Angela Di Fulvio, Shaun D. Clarke, Sara A. Pozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have developed an algorithm for on-the-fly radionuclide identification for radiation portal monitors using organic scintillation detectors. The algorithm was demonstrated on experimental data acquired with our pedestrian portal monitor on moving special nuclear material and industrial sources at a purpose-built radiation portal monitor testing facility. The experimental data also included common medical isotopes. The algorithm takes the power spectral density of the cumulative distribution function of the measured pulse height distributions and matches these to reference spectra using a spectral angle mapper. F-score analysis showed that the new algorithm exhibited significant performance improvements over previously implemented radionuclide identification algorithms for organic scintillators. Reliable on-the-fly radionuclide identification would help portal monitor operators more effectively screen out the hundreds of thousands of nuisance alarms they encounter annually due to recent nuclear-medicine patients and cargo containing naturally occurring radioactive material. Portal monitor operators could instead focus on the rare but potentially high impact incidents of nuclear and radiological material smuggling detection for which portal monitors are intended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-48
Number of pages8
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment
StatePublished - Mar 21 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • F-scores
  • Nuisance alarms
  • Organic scintillation detector
  • Radiation portal monitor
  • Radionuclide identification algorithm
  • Spectral angle mapper

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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