New Long Range Laser Beam Technology Can Help Inspectors Detect Enriched Uranium

According to foreign media reports, researchers from the University of Michigan recently announced the development of a new technology that uses lasers to remotely detect enriched uranium. This technology may help find illegal nuclear activities. Scientists said that this technology involves a process called laser filamentization, which uses ultra-short laser pulses. The pulse is transmitted in air and creates a plasma channel, which is treated as an "optical fiber."

This technique keeps the pulse in a small space. It uses uranium and air to generate plasma and provides an opportunity for the combination of uranium and oxygen. Researchers at the University of Michigan said that this technology can detect the energy stored between oxygen and uranium. The technology can also detect whether uranium is ordinary uranium-238 or fissile uranium-235.

Igor Jovanovic, professor of nuclear engineering and radiology at the University of Michigan, said in a press release: “The color of these molecules is slightly different depending on whether we detect uranium-235 or uranium-238.”

Current technology detects uranium-235 through its spontaneous fission and can also cause fission by "ejecting" neutrons into suspicious items. Using this technique, researchers can “see through” the packaging and detect uranium-235 when it is intentionally hidden or disguised.

According to Jovanovic, the new technology can detect enriched uranium several miles away, and the technology can also be used for nuclear forensic analysis.

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