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In most harbors worldwide, inspection systems dedicated to the security of passengers and freight are based on fixed x-ray portals, radiation portal monitors and handheld radiometers.
CAEN, in collaboration with University of Padova, has developed an integrated mobile system for port security as a part of the SLIMPORT project, funded by the Italian Ministry for the Economic Development (MISE) under the “Industria 2015” program. This system, called SMANDRA, aims to detect an identify different types of radioactive and nuclear materials hidden inside containers, and to identify dangerous and/or illegal materials inside volumes tagged as “suspect” by conventional surveys (as active NDA system).

The SMANDRA system consists in two different parts:

1) A PASSIVE UNIT featuring:

  • Two different types of gamma-ray detectors: 5″x5″ NaI(Tl), 2″x2″ LaBr(Ce)
  • Two different types of neutron counters: 5″x2″ Liquid scintillator, 3He proportional counter
  • The CAEN VME8004, a VME 4 slot crate, customized to be supplied in battery-mode
  • The CAEN V6533M, a 6 channels HV board to supply the overall set of PMTs (both positive and negative polaritiy)
  • The CAEN V1720 Digitizer with DPP-PSD on-board (Digital Pulse Processing for Pulse Shape Discrimination), that performs on line analysis by the FPGA to give directly to the user energy and time stamps of each event using a dual gate acquisition window technique
  • The CAEN V1718 USB Bridge for data communication with an external PC

2) An ACTIVE UNIT that contains a EADS-SODERN sealed neutron generator with the associated particle detector to perform active interrogations using the tagged neutron inspection technique.

The SMANDRA system was tested in April 2011 at the JRC-Ispra laboratory, showing excellent results in the identification of different radioactive and special nuclear materials. A more detailed explanation of those results can be found HERE. This Paper was presented at the ANIMMA2011 conference, held in the beginning of June 2011 in Gent-Belgium, where CAEN showed the passive unit of the system.

The V6533M board and the DPP-PSD firmware for the V1720 Digitizer have been designed in their prototype versions thanks to the funding received for this project.


The project is funded by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) under the INDUSTRIA 2015 – Sustainable Mobility programme

Starting date: May 2010 Ending date: April 2012

The SLIMPORT consortium officially took up work in May 2010. The consortium consists of more than 40 industrial and scientific partners together with 10 italian harbors / terminals. The SLIMCHECK project has been completed in April 2012.

For more information contact: Alessandro Iovene


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