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SilentBorder – Cosmic Ray Tomograph for Identification of Hazardous and Illegal Goods hidden in Trucks and Sea Containers

Our goal is to develop and validate a new high-technology cosmic ray tomography (CRT) scanner for border guard, customs and law enforcement authorities (LEAs); alongside a novel and compact system to detect special nuclear material (SNM) during transit. 

The new scanner enables safe and fast screening, detection and identification of hazardous and illegal goods, contraband as well as hidden persons in up to 20’ iso containers. 

The novel scanner and SNM detector will fill the gap in security scanning where widely used conventional x-ray scanners are inefficient for fast scanning of high thickness goods filling the intermodal shipping containers. The scanner will outperform existing systems based on cosmic rays by implementing high performance novel algorithms combined with artificial intelligence for materials and SNM identification and application of cost-effective approach for construction the system to make its price attractive for wide pre-placement of existing x-ray scanners; addressing operative scenarios beyond the current technological research. 

The novel system will compete with the widely used conventional x-ray scanners systems to provide an alternative to the inherent technological shortcomings. For example, use of hazardous artificial ionizing radiation, insensitive to elemental composition, impermeable through thick or dense materials, imaging blurring in the pile of materials. And as a result, provide a tomographic, elemental sensitive material classification system. It will allow automated detection of illegal goods, including drugs, explosives, weapons, hidden tobacco and alcohol products as well heavily shielded or masked nuclear material. After field tests the new tomography scanner will be ready for product development and commercialization. After the project, it is envisioned to scale system to accommodate truck and train car sized objects. 

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The project is co-funded by EU Commission under Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme 

Call: SU-BES02-2018-2019-2020 – Technologies to enhance border and external security

  • Grant agreement ID: 101021812 
  • Topic(s) 
  • SU-BES02-2018-2019-2020 – Technologies to enhance border and external security
Starting date: 1 May 2021 Ending date: 30 April 2025

The SIlentBorder Consortium is composed of 10 partners from 8 European countries and consists of Research Institutes, SMEs and Public Bodies. The project is expected to last 48 months with a budget of EUR 7.5 million.

SilentBorder project partners

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End-users (LEAs):


Project website:


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