Michael Staib (Florida Institute of Technology)
Muon tomography for homeland security aims at detecting well-shielded nuclear contraband in cargo and imaging it in 3D. The technique exploits multiple scattering of atmospheric cosmic ray muons, which is stronger in dense, high-Z nuclear materials, e.g. enriched uranium, than in low-Z and medium-Z shielding materials. We have constructed and operated a compact Muon Tomography Station (MTS) that tracks muons with six to ten 30 cm x 30 cm Triple Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) detectors placed on the sides of a 27-liter cubic imaging volume. The 2D strip readouts of the GEMs achieve a spatial resolution of ~ 130 um in both dimensions and the station is operated at a muon trigger rate of ~ 20 Hz. The 1,536 strips per GEM detector are read out with the first medium-size implementation of the Scalable Readout System (SRS) developed specifically for Micro-Pattern Gas Detectors by the RD51 collaboration at CERN. We discuss the performance of this MTS prototype and present experimental results on tomographic imaging of high-Z objects with and without shielding.