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Radiation – Video game visualization

The image shows a visualization of a radiation transport simulation for a spaceflight radioisotope power system and complex interactions of radiation fields with operational environments. Credit: Michael B. R. Smith and M. Scott Greenwood/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are developing a first-of-a-kind toolkit drawing on video game development software to visualize radiation data.

Using data sets originally produced by ORNL for analysis of NASA radioisotope power systems, the toolkit leverages gaming development software such as Unreal Engine® to couple three-dimensional radiation transport results with CAD geometries in a cinematic — yet scientific — format.

Visualization of radiation data is difficult because it is multidimensional and affected by interactions with physical materials such as a nuclear-powered spacecraft. This visualization process makes it possible to illustrate nuanced results and highlight specific features of radiation fields. These techniques can be used to inform the design phase of any nuclear project or to communicate radiation results.

An overview of these visualization techniques was presented by ORNL’s Mike Smith and Scott Greenwood at the American Nuclear Society Virtual Winter Meeting in November.