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Muon radiography for geological investigations

Geological InvestigationsMuon DetectorScintillatorsSilicioSilicon


Scintillator detectors, realized in a suitable arrangement, can be effectively used  as probes for geological investigations. By the measurement of the variations in cosmic muons flow and  using dedicated reconstruction algorithms, it is possible to obtain a 3D density map of the subsoil, reaching depths up to about 100 m.

Technical features

The technology aims to the insertion of muon radiography in industrial contexts in the field of geological investigations. In particular it deals with a probe for cosmic muons tracking, based on scintillators optically coupled to Silicon photomultipliers. The geometric configuration with concentric cylinders allows, through dedicated methods, the reconstruction of the trajectory of the single muon in the three directions x,y,z. The detector comprises electronic control and processing systems specially devoted to the muons flux evaluation and its link with variations in the substrate density. The system looks like as an alternative for the prospection technologies (georadar, geoelectric, gravimetric and magnetic), giving a chance to carry out inspections almost independent from the substrate features, to reach higher depths, all mantaining low operation costs.

Possible Applications

  • Geological investigations;
  • Archaeological sites explorations;
  • Cavity detection for engineering purposes;
  • Deposits identification in mining;
  • Identification of tunnels in the field of security.


  • Results almost independent from soil properties;
  • Better spatial resolution;
  • Mapping up to 100 m in depth;
  • Less mechanical complexity;
  • Costs reduction.