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What is Backscatter X-ray

Clicks:Updated:2015-11-30 15:11:45

Backscatter X-ray is an advanced X-ray imaging technology.Traditional X-ray machines detect hard and soft materials by the variation in transmission through the target.In contrast,backscatter X-ray detects the radiation that reflects from the target.It has potential applications where less-destructive examination is required,and can be used if only one side of the target is available for examination.

The technology is one of two types of whole body imaging technologies that have been used to perform full-body scans of airline passengers to detect hidden weapons,tools,liquids,narcotics,currency,and other contraband.A competing technology is millimeter wave scanner.An airport security machine of this type is also referred to as "body scanner","whole body imager (WBI)","security scanner",and "naked scanner".

Deployments at airports
In the United States,the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 required that all full-body scanners operated in airports by the Transportation Security Administration use "Automated Target Recognition" software,which replaces the picture of a nude body with the cartoon-like representation.As a result of this law,all backscatter X-ray machines formerly in use by the Transportation Security Administration were removed from airports by May 2013,since the agency said the vendor (Rapiscan) did not meet their contractual deadline to implement the software.

In the European Union,backscatter X-ray screening of airline passengers was banned in 2012 to protect passenger safety,and the deployment at Manchester Airport was removed.

Large scale
Some backscatter X-ray scanners can scan much larger objects,such as trucks and containers.This scan is much faster than a physical search and could potentially allow a larger percentage of shipping to be checked for smuggled items,weapons,drugs,or people.

The "Z Backscatter Van",or ZBV,from AS&E is a mobile backscatter X-ray machine in a van,which "from the outside looks like an ordinary delivery van,allowing it to blend in to urban and other landscapes".It is being promoted as a means of examining the contents of vehicles,containers,and dumpsters.Unlike many of the truck-based scanners,it has no "arm" that deploys from the van to be able to scan other vehicles passing through,therefore allowing larger items and objects to be scanned in comparison to the limitations in width and height of "scanning arms".

Other companies in the industry are Smiths Detection and Rapiscan.

There are also gamma-ray-based systems coming to market,like the MVACIS.

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