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Performance evaluation of cosmic ray muon trajectory estimation algorithms

by Reshma Ughade, Junghyun Bae, Stylianos Chatzidakis
Publication Type
Journal Name
AIP Advances
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Muons, being elementary particles with minimal interaction with nuclear materials and abundant at sea level, have sparked interest in utilizing them for imaging various applications, such as mining [Borselli et al., Sci. Rep. 12, 22329 (2022)], volcano imaging [Nagamine et al., Nucl. Instrum. Meth. A, 356, 585(1995)], and underground tunnel detection [Guardincerri et al., Pure Appl. Geophys. 174, 2133 (2017)]. Recently, their use in nuclear nonproliferation and safeguard verification has gained attention, particularly in cargo screening for nuclear waste smuggling [Baesso et al., J. Instrum. 9, C10041 (2014)], source localization [L. J. Schultz et al., Nucl. Instrum. Meth. A 519, 687 (2004)], and locating nuclear fuel debris in reactors [Borozdin et al., Phys. Rev. Let. 109, 152501 (2012)]. However, the resolution of muon image reconstruction techniques is limited due to multiple Coulomb scattering (MCS) within the target object. To achieve robust muon tomography, it is crucial to develop efficient and flexible physics-based algorithms that can model the MCS process accurately and estimate the most probable trajectory of muons as they pass through the target object. To address this limitation, in this study, a novel algorithmic approach utilizing the Bayesian probability theory and Gaussian approximation of MCS is chosen. Different energy levels, materials, and target sizes were considered in the evaluations. The results demonstrate that the Generalized Muon Trajectory Estimation (GMTE) algorithm offers significant improvements over currently used algorithms. Across all test scenarios, the GMTE algorithm demonstrated ∼50% and 38% increase in precision compared to Straight Line Path (SLP) and Point of Closest Approach (PoCA) algorithms, respectively. Furthermore, it exhibited 10%–35% and 10%–15% increases in muon flux utilization for high and medium Z materials, respectively, compared to the PoCA algorithm. In conclusion, the extensive simulations confirm the enhanced performance and efficiency of the GMTE algorithm, offering improved resolution and reduced measurement time for cosmic ray muon imaging compared to the current SLP and PoCA algorithms.