Mobile Radiation Detectors: Threat Perception and Device Acceptance

Project Details


New security initiatives are under development to improve the U.S.’s ability to detect radiological anomalies in high-risk locations with the goal of preventing a radiological or nuclear (RN) attack. Portable RN detectors are one potentially cost-efficient way to monitor high-risk areas while also maintaining a fluid, constant, and dispersed detection network. However, the largest networks will require adoption of the technology by organizations or individuals that could facilitate ongoing, dynamic device dispersal. A remaining critical challenge to improving RN detection networks is perfecting the devices’ characteristics and capabilities, such as through enhanced sensitivity, specificity, and miniaturization. In addition, effective communication with key stakeholders and understanding barriers and opportunities for collaboration by groups that could carry the detectors is also necessary.

This project will examine public perceptions relating to mobile RN detectors, including beliefs and motivations that may discourage or encourage adoption, and the potential roles of communications and incentives during the adoption process. This research couples multiple theoretical frameworks drawn from social marketing and risk communication within the diffusion of innovation research stream. Finally, it uses rigorous research methods to strategically guide potential adoption efforts involving mobile radiation detection devices.


This study includes a systematic literature review, focus groups, fieldwork, and a survey. 


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