NE Seminar: “Scatter Radiation Imaging: Principles and Applications”

Date(s) - 09/16/2021
1:50 pm - 2:50 pm


Jim Baciak, Ph.D.

Professor, Nuclear Engineering Program
University of Florida



James E. Baciak (Ph.D., Nuclear Engineering, University of Michigan, 2004) is currently a Florida Power and Light Professor in the UF Materials Science and Engineering Department.  Dr. Baciak was a faculty member in Nuclear and Radiological Engineering at the University of Florida from 2004-2010. From 2010-2012, he was a Research Scientist within the National Security Directorate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, WA), before returning to the University of Florida and the Nuclear Engineering Program in 2012.

His expertise areas include detector development and radiation measurements, scintillation detectors, compound semiconductor materials, radiation imaging, background rejection techniques, national security – nuclear nonproliferation applications, and non-destructive examination (medical and industrial). In his nine years at the University of Florida, he has been a PI or Co-PI on over $20 million in project grant funding (including ~$9 million as PI), from federal agencies, national laboratories, and industrial partners. He has received over funding from the Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, National Nuclear Security Administration, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Defense Threat Reduction Agency. He and his students have published over 50 papers and over 100 conference presentations. He is the past chair of the American Nuclear Society Scholarship Policy and Coordination Committee. He is also a co-developer of the Nuclear Security Summer School at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and a member of many professional societies, including ANS, IEEE, SPIE, and ASNT.



Radiation imaging based on the scattering of x-rays is gaining popularity in a number of fields, from non-destructive imaging of railroad components to medical imaging and national security applications. In this presentation, we will explore some of the basic principles and applications of two x-ray scatter imaging techniques.

In backscatter imaging, one images x-ray photons that are scattered back towards the x-ray source. This technique uses highly collimated pencil or x-ray beams to assist in the creation of the image. The University of Florida has been a leader in the development of this technique, which has seen applications in aerospace, national security, railroad safety, and plant science.  

In gratings-based phase contrast imaging, image contrast is developed through 3 mechanisms: absorption (similar to conventional x-ray imaging); differential phase which is impacted by changes in electron density; and x-ray scatter which can be sensitive to sub-resolution textural changes. We are currently investigating and developing a new setup for this technique here at UF, based on recent developments at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, such that imaging with this technique can be realized at x-ray energies relevant for a wide variety of non-destructive imaging applications. 


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