Methods and simulations of muon tomography and reconstruction
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This dissertation investigates imaging with cosmic ray muons using scintillator-based portable particle detectors, and covers a variety of the elements required for the detectors to operate and take data, from the detector internal communications and software algorithms to a measurement to allow accurate predictions of the attenuation of physical targets. A discussion of the tracking process for the three layer helical design developed at UT Austin is presented, with details of the data acquisition system, and the highly efficient data format. Upgrades to this system provide a stable system for taking images in harsh or inaccessible environments, such as in a remote jungle in Belize. A Geant4 Monte Carlo simulation was used to develop our understanding of the efficiency of the system, as well as to make predictions for a variety of different targets. The projection process is discussed, with a high-speed algorithm for sweeping a plane through data in near real time, to be used in applications requiring a search through space for target discovery. Several other projections and a foundation of high fidelity 3D reconstructions are covered. A variable binning scheme for rapidly varying statistics over portions of an image plane is also presented and used. A discrepancy in our predictions and the observed attenuation through smaller targets is shown, and it is resolved with a new measurement of low energy spectrum, using a specially designed enclosure to make a series of measurements underwater. This provides a better basis for understanding the images of small amounts of materials, such as for thin cover materials.