A recent study, affiliated with UNIST has introduced a method for the remote detection of hazardous radioactive substances. With the help...
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Remote detection of radioactive materials is impossible when the measurement location is far from the radioactive source such that the leakage of high-energy photons or electrons from the source cannot be measured. Current technologies are less effective in this respect because they only allow the detection at distances to which the high-energy photons or electrons can reach the detector. Here we demonstrate an experimental method for remote detection of radioactive materials by inducing plasma breakdown with the high-power pulsed electromagnetic waves. Measurements of the plasma formation time and its dispersion lead to enhanced detection sensitivity compared to the theoretically predicted one based only on the plasma on and off phenomena. We show that lower power of the incident electromagnetic wave is sufficient for plasma breakdown in atmospheric-pressure air and the elimination of the statistical distribution is possible in the presence of radioactive material.