Professor, Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences
A Game-Changer for Nuclear Safety
When Michigan Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences Professor Zhong He and his company, H3D, started selling the Polaris-H radiation detector in 2013, many hailed it as a game-changer for nuclear safety. Along with graduate students in his Orion Radiation Measurement Group — some of whom now work for H3D — He spent 18 years developing the world’s first portable, practical gamma ray camera. The toaster-size handheld device not only detects radiation but shows exactly where it’s located and identifies the radioactive material that’s spewing it.
Originally developed for the U.S Department of Defense in order to detect nuclear weapons, this technology now helps doctors track the precise path of radiation therapy and is being built into NASA rovers. In nuclear power plants around the world, it detects radiation and fuel leaks, which can be both dangerous and costly.
The company is now working to evolve the original system into a modular one called Orion — the constellation to Polaris’s lone star — that would detect and identify radiation over large areas. Orion’s electronics are more sophisticated and compact than Polaris’s, with components that can be configured to changes in scale.
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