The effectiveness of X-rays in health care and scanning cargo is limited by the isotopes employed, a new federal report explains, according to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

So a new Gamma Ray Inspection Technology project has been launched that seeks ways to achieve “high-intensity, tunable, and narrow-bandwidth sources of gamma ray radiation in a compact, transportable form factor that would enable a wide range of national security, industrial and medical applications.”

That description of what essentially would be a ray gun is from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is working on GRIT.

Already, there are some applications for scanning suspicious maritime shipping containers, the industrial inspection of materials and medical diagnoses, the organization said.

But current technologies are not ideal.

“X-rays produce a continuum of energies that limit their inspection and diagnostic performance, and gamma rays can only be produced at specific energies,” the agency said.

“What we’re trying to do in GRIT is transform the use of X-rays and gamma rays,” said Mark Wrobel, program manager. “Current sources of gamma rays, like Cobalt-60 or Cesium-137, are not very flexible. They require special licenses to possess and only emit gamma rays at very specific energies. What we desire is a source of very high-energy photons that we can tune to match the application we need. This ranges from more effective detection of illicit cargo, to a more informative medical X-ray.”

For the rest of this report, and more, please go to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

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