Skip to content

Micro-Detective-HX Advanced Handheld Radiation Detection and Identification RIID

Micro-Detective-HX Advanced Hand-Held Radiation Detection and Identification RIID
The “-HX” is the commercial embodiment of the HPRDS development carried out under contract between AMETEK and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • Wireless Remote Monitoring - Remotely control and monitor from a central location
  • Portable - Light weight, long battery life, "one-hand" operation with GPS location
  • Simple to Operate - Touchscreen or push button with audible and visual alarm indicators
  • Rugged - High or low temperatures, water proof, dust proof and drop hardened
  • Superior Algorithms - Low false alarm rates, more than 170 nuclide IDs and superior SNM search
  • Gamma and Neutron Detection - Identification, dose rate and count rate
  • Detects and Identifies x-rays and gamma rays from any radioactive source (solid, liquid, or gas)
  • Auto Calibration - Continuous real-time detector stabilization
  • Detective-Remote Compatible - Use as a mobile, transportable or choke point monitor 
  • Literature +

  • More Information +

    The Micro-Detective-HX features compact, light weight and rugged hardware. A 50 mm diameter HPGe crystal in a “hardened” cryostat is cooled by an integrated low-power Stirling-cycle cryocooler. The latest version Micro-Detective-HX features a new cooler, offering reduced levels of acoustic noise and vibration, and longer operation life. The hardened cryostat is entirely free of conventional molecular sieve, allowing the instrument to be turned off or on at any point in the detector cool down or warm up cycle without risk. This is impossible with conventional HPGe cryostat systems which require careful temperature cycling procedures to avoid damage.

    A built-in digital MCA system and powerful data processor are included. All models feature the same bright and clear VGA resolution display, readable in direct sunlight, with a touch sensitive operator screen. Menu navigation is highly intuitive. The radionuclide gamma-ray spectrum may be displayed and manipulated (e.g., vertical scale, zoom) like a conventional multichannel analyzer.

    Gamma and neutron count rate and gamma dose rate are displayed continuously both numerically and in bar graph form.

    In the latest version, the Micro-Detective-HX internal battery provides enough power for up to 5 hours of operation and is easily replaced in seconds, allowing continuous in-field operation. At just under 16 lbs. in weight, the Micro-Detective sets a world record for portable, high resolution nuclide identifiers, by a wide margin.

    -HX Software Approach
    HPGe is already acknowledged as the “perfect” detector for a radioisotope identifier. It has ~40 times better energy resolution (selectivity) than the nearest alternative. Unlike lower-resolution detector types, HPGe crystals must operate at cryogenic temperatures — an engineering issue ORTEC solved 25 years ago. Several hundred Detective family instruments in the field attest to the reliability of today’s miniature Stirling cycle coolers used for this purpose.

    Beyond the intrinsic selectivity of the HPGe detector type, the ultimate performance in terms of its fidelity of identification (zero false positives or false negatives is the goal) depends on the software algorithms. Its practicality in use depends on reliable hardware and a user interface which is easy to learn and interpret.

    The Micro-Detective-HX performance has been enhanced with the introduction of the new Detective-Pro user interface. Further reductions in both false positive and false negative results have been achieved, combined with a new design user interface and new modes of operation.

    The Micro-Detective-HX in Use: Overview
    From the hardware standpoint the user interface comprises:
    • Two buttons on the front of the handle, Navigate (N) and Select (S), with which all survey and sampling operations can be performed.
    • A high-resolution, sunlight readable, color touchscreen provides an alternative way to choose menu options and enter data such as passwords and alarm limits.
    • Audio-visual feedback:
      • Menus are designed to be operated with N and S buttons only, but if preferred, the touchscreen is always available.
      • On-screen help messages display radiation and system error alarms. The messages tell the user what the next press of the N and S buttons will do.
      • An audio alarm with three volume settings can be used with headphones and a vibration alarm is provided in the handle. Either, both, or neither can be enabled.
      • A 4-LED panel is used to further inform the operator of alarm conditions.
      • Color coding of the LEDs and screen borders match in order to make the instrument as intuitive as possible: red for threat, yellow for suspect and green for innocent.
      • Indicators at the top of the screen show the current dose rate in mrem/hr, the number of spectra that can be stored on the SD card, GPS co-ordinates, the power source (external power or battery), battery time remaining, and the on/off state of the audio and vibration alerts. The storage-space and battery-time-remaining readouts alternate every few seconds.

        When radiation is detected and identified, the identification is posted to the real-time identification area of the screen. This area lists the names of any radioisotopes currently being detected and their classification as a threat (T), suspect (S), or innocent (I). It can also optionally show whether the identification is at high (H) or low (L) confidence.

    The Micro-Detective-HX in Use: Modes of Operation

    How the -HX Collects and Analyzes Data
    • A flexible approach to minimize time and maximize effectiveness.
    • Continuous running and fixed time modes with “end survey summary.”
    • Maximum flexibility, maximum sensitivity.
    • Adaptable to the chosen CONOPS design.

    The -HX monitors for radiation at all times. It collects one spectrum per second, then begins analyzing a rolling window of the eight most recent 1-second spectra for radioisotope identification and alarms.
    • “Home” or “Passive Monitor” mode is the simplest form of operation. In this mode, the -HX is continuously “looking,” but not storing data.
    • In “Detect” or “Survey” mode, the instrument stores the 1-second data slices and attempts to make an ID based on the 8-second rolling windows.
    • Optional “Long Samples” or “Fixed Samples,” performed during the “Detect” mode survey, add longer spectrum acquisitions to the data stream of 8-second rolling-window analyses.
    • The “End Survey Report” is a cumulative analysis of all 1-second data slices in the survey, providing increased detection sensitivity for weak or distant sources.

    Modes of Operation: Home (Passive Monitor) Mode: “Always Looking”

    In Home (Passive Monitor) mode, the instrument is continuously “looking” but not storing data. Gamma dose-rate, battery life, storage space, and GPS co-ordinates are displayed. In this mode, the -HX acts like a survey meter in that if it is moved away from the source, the ID will be removed from the screen. However, any alarm posted persists and must be acknowledged (cleared). Data is gathered and processed in 1-second time slices. The -HX analyzes an 8-second rolling window of these slices and attempts to make an ID. Nuclide IDs are posted to the Real Time ID area.

    Modes of Operation: Detect Mode (The Survey Concept)
    Detect mode is used to better locate and identify sources. A Survey always begins with a Detect mode measurement, and can include Long and Fixed Sample mode (see below) operations also. The -HX can be set to automatically start a survey immediately after it is removed from charge or a survey may be started manually. 1-second data slices are saved to an ICD1/ICD2 file pair (see specification section) on the removable SD card. As in the Passive Monitor mode, the -HX attempts to make an ID based on an 8-second rolling window. At the upper part of the screen, the color-coded strip chart records Signal Index (cumulative activity of ALL nuclides identified). The chart peaks at the location of greatest activity. The lower chart shows the Threat Material Index similar to the Signal Index, but for threat material only. To the right of each strip chart, a vertical bar and numeric value is used to show the current value of the signal and threat indices. If appropriate to the measurement, alarm IDs are displayed in the Real Time ID area and must be acknowledged. 

    Modes of Operation: Long and Fixed Sample Modes
    During a Survey, in the Detect mode measurement, a source may have been located and closer scrutiny desired. Long or Fixed Sample modes may be used to achieve this. In Long Sample mode, a single spectrum is acquired for 30 or more seconds and analyzed once per second for alarms. Fixed Samples are treated similarly but have preset durations of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 60, 120, or 300 seconds. In Long Sample mode, the live spectral display can be viewed. Long and Fixed Sample spectra and analyses are saved in the ICD1/ICD2 file pair for the Survey, along with the rolling-window and cumulative-analysis data.

    “End Survey Report”
    A Survey is started manually or automatically, as described above. Apart from the Detect mode operation, a survey may include either single or multiple long or fixed sample mode measurements. When a Survey is terminated by the operator, an “End Survey” summary report is displayed containing the following:
    • Any alarms derived from the 8-second rolling window mode of operation which starts every survey,
    • Any alarms derived from an analysis of a cumulative spectrum representing the summation of all the 1-second slices gathered during the survey, thereby attempting to ID any low intensity components which the rolling window analysis might have missed; the cumulative spectrum and analysis data are added to the ICD1/ICD2 file pair for the survey.
    • Any alarms derived from those Long and Fixed Sample measurements included in the survey.

    Modes of Operation: HX-LCX Operation — For the Expert

    The LCX mode is “Low Confidence Expert” mode. This mode is password protected, and displays threat alarms and identifications at an approximately 30% lower confidence level than normal. This results in more “hits” on suspected threat nuclides, and is recommended for use by experienced personnel. Normal mode operation, in contrast, would either not post a threat alarm because the confidence level is too low, or would simply post an elevated radiation or beta alarm rather than listing a specific radionuclide.

    The -HX and Background Radiation — No more NORM alarms
    The -HX can distinguish between radioactive materials in the environment and the sample, so it does not indicate the presence of activity which is actually due to background. It does this by making periodic background measurements according to a schedule. A user with password access can choose the number of days between required background checks. If the required background update is not performed, the -HX permits unlimited passive monitoring but will not enter Survey Mode. However, even with an expired background, the -HX provides proper, real-time identifications of SNM, RDD, and other threats.

    The -HX and Digital Stabilization — Making the best of it

    Although a digital germanium spectrometer is a highly stable instrument, even with varying temperatures, the -HX is designed for use in conditions that could be considered extreme (which certainly are not recommended but, within the specified mechanical and environmental limits, are not a barrier to correct operation). An automatic gain stabilizer system “locks onto” the natural background K-40 peak (if present) to ensure “perfect” calibration is maintained even in conditions of harsh handling. The stabilizer is “smart.” If either the K-40 is determined as being absent, or if a potential gamma-ray interference with the K-40 peak is determined to be present, the stabilizer will be held at a constant setting.

    Micro-Detective-HX Offline Analysis Program
    • Views the spectral contents of -HX data files, real time and live time for each spectrum contained in each, radioactive sources identified (if any), and alarm types associated with each identification.
    • Reanalyzes the data set with different nuclide libraries.
    • Exports all spectra in an -HX file to a set of ORTEC .CHN format spectrum files. The .CHN files can then be viewed and analyzed in more detail with ORTEC applications such as the GammaVision Gamma-Ray Spectrum Analysis and MCA Emulator.

    The Micro Detective-HX Offline Analysis Program is a utility supplied with every instrument. It is run on a PC and provides extended functionality for use post-analysis.

    The key features of the program are listed below.
    • Toolbar — Click to issue the main program commands.
    • File Information Section — Displays the name of the ICD1/ICD2 file pair currently open; its Location; and the instrument with which it was acquired, including the firmware version and the unit serial number (ID).
    • Spectra List — Lists all the component spectra in the current ICD1/ICD2 file pair, including the background spectrum, any 8-second “rolling window” Detect Mode spectra, any Long or Fixed Sample spectra, and the final cumulative spectrum.
    • Export Button — Exports all the component spectra in the current ICD1/ICD2 file pair to a set of ORTEC .CHN format spectrum files.
    • Analysis Results Section — Lists the nuclides found (if any), including the threat type (innocent, suspect, or threat), dose rate in mrem/hr, and confidence level (H — high or L — low). In conjunction with this list, the three simulated LED readouts “light” according to the innocent (green), suspect (yellow), and/or red (threat) nuclides identified.
    • Spectrum Window — A full-scale display (0 to 8191 channels) of the currently selected spectrum, in counts per channel, with logarithmic vertical scaling. This window includes a vertical marker line which can be moved with the mouse.
    • Marker Information Line — Shows the energy, in keV, and counts per channel for the current marker position.
  • Nuclide Library +

    The Micro-Detective-HX has a very comprehensive nuclide list. A subset of the entire nuclide library is the default “Threat Isotopes”; these are marked in RED in the table. The advanced user is able to add any of the nuclides marked in GREEN in Table 1 to the list of red-marked threat isotopes. The color coding in the table shows the default background screen colors and visual alarms the instrument will present when these nuclides are encountered. The YELLOW “suspect” alarm will be posted on the basis of excessive gamma count rate not consistent with the identified nuclides, in other words, either unknown nuclides are present or a beta emitter is present.

    Enriched Uranium
    Neutron CR (xx.x cps)
    Neutrons Present
    Am-241 (Shielded)
    Am-241 (59.5 keV)

    Bi-212 (Th232/U232 daughter)
    Bi-214 (Ra226 daughter)
    Br-76 (shielded)
    Br-76 (heavily shielded)

    Co-56 (shielded)

    Neutrons on Fe

    Elevated radiation or beta emitter
    Ga-64 (shielded)

    Ga-67 (shielded)
    Ho-166m (shielded)
    I-123 (shielded)
    I-126 (shielded)
    I-131 (shielded)

    Ir-192 (shielded)
    Ir-194 (shielded)
    Kr-88 (shielded)

    Nb-96 (shielded)

    Sb-124 (shielded)
    Sm-153 (shielded)

  • Specifications +

    Dose Rate Visual over range indication and continuous audible alarm, user settable. Over-ride alarm at dose rates >10,000 µSv/hr.
    Internal HPGe Detector P-type high-purity germanium. Coaxial construction. Crystal Nominal Dimensions 50 mm diameter x 33 mm (±10%) length.
    Cryostat and Cooler
    Hardened” cryostat, with high-reliability, low-power Stirling cooler. The cryostat design is such that the Micro-Detective-HX may be switched off at any time and power subsequently re-applied, without having to wait for a full thermal cycle (full warm up before cool down), as is normal practice with a HPGe detector system. This feature greatly increases system availability during measurement campaigns
    Gamma Dose Rate Detector 
    Two detectors determine the gamma dose rate over a wide range from <0.05 µSv/h to >10000 µSv/h, a dose-rate range of around six decades. For low dose rates, below ~20 µSv/h, the dose rate is determined from the Ge detector spectrum. For dose rates above this value, the internal compensated GM tube is used. Instrument switches between the two automatically.
    Dose Rate Uncertainty <(–50% to +100%); continuous audible alarm at dose rates >10,000 µSv/h (fixed maximum threshold), user settable threshold below this.
    Internal Neutron Detector Module Single tube:  4" active length, 0.5" diameter. High density Polyethylene moderator.
    Digital MCA and Data Processor
    Display: VGA 640 x 480 TFT sunlight readable, touch sensitive, operate with finger or stylus. 

    Data Processor: Marvel 806 MHz XScale.
    Data Storage
    Media: To internal RAM and removable SD card.

    Storage Scheme: In passive monitor mode, no data files are saved. In Survey mode and Long and Fixed sample mode, ICD1 and ICD2 files are stored.

    File Format: DNDO ICD format (similar to ANSI N42.42) for data and results.

    These files may be read, reanalyzed and exported to the Micro-Detective-HX Offline Analysis Program, which is included with the instrument. Exported files are in the well known ORTEC “.CHN” format and may be read by many programs used by Reachback teams such as CAMBIO and by ORTEC products such as GammaVision and the included MAESTRO-PRO software.
    Computer Interfacing
    Computer Interfacing  USB connection to laptop. Data transfer by Microsoft® ActiveSync. Wi-Fi (802.11) communication software.
    Wireless Mobile MCB Server software.
    Internal NMEA compliant WAAS capable.
    Digital MCA with Internal Storage of Multiple Spectral Data
    Digital Noise Suppression: "LFR Filter" ORTEC Patent Pending.
    Conversion Gain: 8k channel.
    Maximum Number of Stored Spectra: Unlimited on removable media.
    Maximum Overall Dimensions
    (including handle, Ge detector endcap and shock absorbers) 14.7 in L x 5.75 in W x 11 in H (37.4 cm L x 14.6 cm W x 27.9 cm H).
    16 lbs (7.25 kg)
    Internal Battery
    Lithium Ion. 14.4 V, 6.2 Ah, 89 Wh, nominal. Up to 5 hours of battery life at 25°C when HPGe detector is cold. <4 hour time to charge. Internal battery is easily swapped through removal of snap shut battery door.
    External Battery 
    Battery lifetime may be extended indefinitely by the use of external battery packs. EXT-BAT-MICRO is recommended, weighs less than 3.25 lbs and extends lifetime to >10 hrs.
    Input Power
    10 to 17 V DC  from battery or DC power supply (universal mains supply included). Battery charger circuit is inside instrument.
    Power Usage
    Strongest during cool down: <100 Watt. While charging Battery: 5A nominal. Cold with fully charged battery <2A
    External Power
    DC Input and battery Charge Input. 2.5 mm coaxial connector with locking screw on collar.
    Operation Range:  –10°C to 40°C.
    Relative Humidity:  <90% at 35°C, non-condensing.
    Instrument Enclosure
    Sealed against ingress of dust and water. All perforations are sealed by rubber plugs (connectors, memory cards, etc.). Instrument is not designed to tolerate immersion.
    External Connectivity to System
    1 SD (Secure Digital) card slot (3.3 V).
    1 USB connection for "ActiveSync" capability or MCA operation with external computer.
    Wi-Fi 802.11 communication software.
    Wireless Mobile MCB Server software
    1 Audio headphone jack.
    Cool Down Time
    The high reliability cooler is designed for continuous operation. Between making measurements the unit is powered from a DC supply, car battery or other high capacity device. Initial cool down time depends on ambient temperature, but is typically <12 hours at 25°C.
  • Accessories +

    Pelican Transport Case. Rugged, waterproof, wheeled  transport case.Detective trans-SPEC Hard Side Case

    Model Description
    MICRO-DET-OPT-1 Pelican Transport Case

    DETECTIVE-OPT-8 Detective Shoulder StrapShoulder Strap. Attaches to instrument for ease of carrying. One strap included with instrument.

    Model Description
    DETECTIVE-OPT-8 Shoulder Strap

    M-1-T2 Tripod for DetectiveM-1-T2 Tripod.

    Model Description
    M-1-T2-MICRO-VERT Variable length tripod and mounting hardware.

    DETECTIVE-OPT-15 Ultra Battery Extender with ChargerUltra Battery Extender with charger. Powers instrument, thereby HOLDING current state of charge of internal battery. Does NOT recharge Internal Battery. Battery life >8 hours. Hot swappable. Weight ~3 lb.

    Model Description
    EXT-BAT-MICRO Ultra Battery Extender.

    Detective CollimatorOptional Collimators
    Model Description
    MICRO-DET-COL-ST Steel Collimator, 4 mm thick
    MICRO-DET-COL-W Tungsten Collimator, 4 mm thick
    Model Description
    DETECTIVE-OPT-8 Shoulder Strap
  • Learning Center +

  • Ordering Information +

    Model Description
    MICRO-DETECTIVE-HX Light-Weight, Portable HPGe Identifier (Gamma and Neutron). Includes GPS, mains adapter, battery cable, shoulder strap, MAESTRO-PRO software, and softside carry case.
    MICRO-DET-HX-PKG-1 Includes MICRO-DETECTIVE-HX Light-Weight, Portable HPGe Identifier (Gamma and Neutron), GPS, mains adapter, battery cable, shoulder strap, MAESTRO-PRO software, and hardside wheeled transport case.
    MICRO-DET-8-HX-PKG-1 Includes MICRO-DETECTIVE-HX Enhanced Capability, Ultra-Light-Weight, Portable HPGe Identifier (Gamma and Neutron), up to 8 MeV gamma energy range, GPS, mains adapter, battery cable, and shoulder strap, MAESTRO-PRO software, and hardside wheeled transport case.
    Lithium-Ion Battery.
    MICRO-DET-ACC-BAT-DOR Snap-Open Battery Door Upgrade Kit
    MICRO-DET-ACC-BAT-UPG Snap-Open Battery Door and Longer-Life SMART Battery Upgrade Kit for Micro-Detective and Micro-trans-SPEC models.
    MICRO-DET-ACC-BAT-CHGR-UPG Snap-Open Battery Door and Longer-Life SMART Battery Upgrade Kit with standard battery charger.
    Standalone battery charger and calibrator kit.
    MICRO-DET-ACC-SIXCHGR 6-Bay battery charger.
    MICRO-DET-ACC-VEHCHGR Vehicle powered battery charger.
    MICRO-DET-ACC-PS Universal AC mains power supply.
    MICRO-DET-COL-ST Steel Collimator.
    MICRO-DET-COL-W Tungsten Collimator.
    MICRO-DET-OPT-1 Rugged, waterproof, wheeled transport case.
    MICRO-DET-OPT-18 Low Energy Gamma Ray Filter.
    EXT-BAT-MICRO Ultra battery extender.
    931286 Vehicle Power Supply Cable
    M-1-T2-MICRO-VERT Variable length tripod and mounting hardware for Micro-Detective and Micro-trans-SPEC models.
    M-1-T2 Variable length tripod for Micro-Detective and Micro-trans-SPEC models
    M-1-T2-BRKT-MICRO-VERT Vertical mounting bracket for Micro-Detective and Micro-trans-SPEC models on M-1-T2 tripod