BBC Earth (Asia) - - Update | The Latest Intelligence -

Thanks to their abil­ity to pen­e­trate deep into solid mat­ter, muons can be used to im­age the in­ter­nal struc­ture of ob­jects in a man­ner sim­i­lar to X-rays. De­tec­tors are placed in strate­gic po­si­tions around the ob­ject to be scanned, and left run­ning for sev­eral months. Over time a pat­tern of de­tec­tions builds up, re­veal­ing the void ar­eas where the muons passed through with­out is­sue, and the denser ar­eas where some of them were ab­sorbed or scat­tered. The in­ter­nal struc­ture of the ob­ject can there­fore be dis­cerned.

The tech­nique has pre­vi­ously been used to re­li­ably im­age and cre­ate 3D mod­els of the in­te­rior of vol­ca­noes, mak­ing clear the dis­tinc­tion be­tween rocks of dif­fer­ent tem­per­a­tures, wa­ter, and voids be­neath the sur­face, and also to probe the ru­ins left be­hind in the wake of the Fukushima Dai­ichi nu­clear dis­as­ter.

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