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PNNL scientist honored for security screening system

October 11, 2007 Share This!

  • Doug McMakin in honored for the development of the first-of-its-kind holographic millimeter wave scanner that is being used for security applications as well as in the clothing industry.

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RICHLAND, Wash. – A researcher at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has been selected to receive the prestigious Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation Homeland Security award for his leadership in developing a security system that detects concealed metallic and nonmetallic items and is being used globally for security in airports and other facilities.

Doug McMakin is being recognized in the Border/Transportation Security category for development of a millimeter wave holographic body scanning system currently being used worldwide in homeland security and counterterrorism efforts. The technology provides security officers with a non-contact, non-ionizing radiation tool that can screen individuals for potentially lethal concealed threats. It has been licensed to L-3 SafeView, which is using the technology as the basis for a line of screening systems, including the SafeScout 100™. More than 75 systems are deployed worldwide in locations including Iraq, Israel, Mexico, Europe, South America and Asia in high-risk areas such as airports, subways, border crossings, and government and military facilities.

“This award recognizes the role PNNL researchers play in helping solve the country’s greatest homeland security challenges,” said PNNL Interim Laboratory Director Michael Kluse. “Doug and his team persevered for many years developing a technology they personally believed in, and I’m pleased the foundation is recognizing these efforts.”

The screening systems have been successfully demonstrated in the U.S. and are undergoing further testing by the Department of Homeland Security. In fact, the system will be tested at Phoenix in the near future, with additional machines to be tested at John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.

The foundation recognizes citizens or companies that are making a measurable and constructive contribution related to basic and/or advanced research in the area of homeland security which will result in a significant and positive benefit to society.

McMakin is a staff engineer in the Applied Physics and Materials Characterization Sciences group of PNNL’s National Security Directorate. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University in 1986 and has been with the Laboratory since 1987.

He is being honored today by the foundation at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Jim Thomas, a PNNL chief scientist, was also one of the top three finalists for the award. He was recognized for his leadership of the Department of Homeland Security’s National Visualization and Analytics Center. NVAC is a leading resource for visual analytics technology and tools that detect, prevent and reduce the threat of terrorist attacks.

Tags: National Security, Operations, Facilities

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of about $950 million. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy. For more information, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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