# What is the state of the art in particle detection and localization

I am researching methods to detect the position of radioactive materials (emitting gamma and beta particles), and would like to know what current methods are used to do this.

What type of sensors are used, and how do they process the information to detect the position of a radioactive material in 3d space?

Are there any limitations/difficulties with these methods? e.g computationally expensive, inaccurate, only works for one type of element etc.

I'm developing my own method to detect the position of radioactive material in 3d space, and I'd like to know what the current standard method for doing this is so I can research and compare the methods.

My method involves liquid scintillation counters and a neural network.

The material will be highly radioactive. e.g 100g of uranium. It is limited to (4x14x6)m area, and could be buried in a solid, surrounded by air, inside a container. However I am assuming that the matter surrounding the radioactive material is uniformly distributed with constant density.

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If you re-word this question to ask something more along the lines of "what is the state of the art in particle detection and localization" and describe what you're trying to detect (charged particles?) the question would be vastly improved. – Brandon Enright Jan 15 '14 at 18:46
You haven't mentioned the environment. Will your source be in vacuum? In air? In some liquid? Buried in a solid? Supported in a heavy, duty steel frame with various bits and pieces but a lot of air? These things really matter as the penetration of the various particles varies. Also, can you impose an strong magnetic field without messing things up? – dmckee Jan 15 '14 at 19:14
Thank you for your suggestions. I have edited the question. – Blue7 Jan 16 '14 at 1:18
The thing is that the amount and composition matter. Less than $1 \,\mathrm{kg/cm^2}$ of almost anything will block a huge fraction of the natural decay gammas making direct detection require considerable integration time. For cases like that neutron fluorescence‎ has been proposed, but it requires a fairly complex arrangement. – dmckee Jan 16 '14 at 2:40