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GSN 2016 Airport, Seaport, Border Security Awards Winner: Symetrica, Inc – Winner, Best Nuclear/Radiation Detection Solution

Editor’s Note: Based on the exceptionally high quality of this year’s winning entries in our 2016 Airport, Seaport, Border Security Awards Program, GSN has committed to publish in-depth articles of twelve of the best entries in GSN’s Daily Insider and Airport, Seaport, Rail, Border Security Weekly over the next two weeks. Today’s Winning Entry, Symetrica Inc, of Southampton, UK and Maynard MA, was interviewed by Awards Lead Judge Chuck Brooks, who opened the interview with several questions for Jeff McCray of Symetrica, U.S.A.

Chuck Brooks: There are many challenges for detection of radiological substances at borders, ports, forward bases and special events. These include ease or use, scalability, mitigating rates of false positives, and most importantly, the effectiveness of science inside the technologies. How would you describe Symetrica’s abilities to meet those challenges and be a differentiator in the security marketplace?

Jeff McCray: Symetrica technology uses enhanced detection systems, new and improved algorithms and, because we build in collaboration and diagnostics, we provide new capabilities that significantly reduce operational costs while have much lower through life costs.

We’ve delivered differentiation across a range of products from handheld isotope identifiers to our award winning Radiation Portal Monitors. Our technology is at the heart of Smith Detection’s high profile RadSeeker handheld radiation detectors for which the DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) recently awarded an IDIQ (indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity) contract with a maximum value of $143 million for the technology, its maintenance and associated training. This success has been built on exhaustive output from customers around operational challenges, government radiological test campaigns and large scale operational deployments. The Radseeker is on record as having been very well received by US CBP (Customs and Border Protection) while reducing false positive rates under operational conditions. In Radiation Portal Monitors our technology has again delivered differentiation in the market. The same approach of detector enhancement and algorithm development has been shown to significantly reduce the operational costs associated with nuisance or false alarms from NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material) normally associated with radiation portal monitors while delivering the same benefit of low through life cost.

Chuck Brooks: It is one measure to have the ability to detect and another to have the command, control and analytics integrated with the detection devices in different environments. What are Symetrica’s specific solutions tailored toward the stakeholders in these areas?

Jeff McCray: Symetrica has tailored a technological solution that seamlessly integrated into both legacy and state-of-the-art command and control infrastructures. This too has enabled s to provide new capabilities to customers directly and through the market leading prime partners as illustrated by the success of our handhelds, mobiles and portals with prime partners such as Smiths Detection and L3 security and Detection Systems. The key for us has been the delivery of a rigorously defined data interface for all our systems. This has enabled the host application or command system to display the required radiological data at the point of decision. We have also adopted industry standard data formats to deliver seamless integration under the hood and summary data directly to users. Combining this with a modular technology portfolio enables us to maximize the value of our offering against multiple requirements simultaneously.

Chuck Brooks: Symetrica has developed a wide spectrum of innovative threat verification security solutions. Can you further elaborate on your full product portfolio of handheld devices to fixed andMobile radiation monitors (RPMs) currently and in your future pipeline?

Jeff McCray: Our vision is to provide a wide ranging product portfolio that supports multiple security missions and nuclear markets. These include homeland security, CBRNe, first response and wider nuclear security challenges such as securing cities and military operations. We have an extensive portfolio of IP (Intellectual property) and excellent partners with whom we are developing the next generation of solutions to build on the success of our handhelds, mobiles and RPMs. We are currently trailing a new range of wearable detection systems and backpacks and will be launching these in the very near future.

The comprehensive and highly targeted awards program selected winners that “deal with very serious national and international threats in land, sea and air that are in the news every day” according to lead judge Chuck Brooks.

Symetrica’s winning entry, he added, was based upon the market-leading Discovery TechnologyTM contained in Symetric’s Radiation Portal Monitors (RPM). This polyvinyl-toluene (PVT) based technology delivers superior performance to increase operational efficiency by accurately discriminating between threat and non-threat materials, significantly reducing nuisance alarms.

Discovery RPM’s effectiveness has been demonstrated in field tests and operational deployment. A primary screening PVT RPM at the Port of Antwerp, for example, reduced innocent alarms from naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) by 84%, decreasing disruption to the flow of commerce.

Symetrica’s Discovery Technology is deployed in over 1,000 systems globally, from handheld detectors to portal monitors. The current technology of choice for the United States Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) based on competitive evaluations, Discovery Technology is the detection sub-system of the Smiths Detection RadSeeker handheld radiation detector for which the US Government Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) recently awarded an IDIQ (indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity) contract with a maximum value of $143 million.

Commenting on Symetrica and other Winners in the program, Adrian Courtenay, CEO of the awards sponsor Government Security News commented, “There are some truly spectacular entries in this year’s program” and went on to call out Symetrica among the “New powerhouse winners.”

Commenting on the news, Jeff McCray, Symetrica, Inc’s VP of Business Development, said: “We are very honored to be selected to win this important category in such a prestigious awards program. Alongside the government technical evaluations and commercial success of Discovery Technology, it is very gratifying to be selected in this way, alongside some very strong competition.”

About Symetrica

As a global leader in radiation, detection and identification, Symetrica is uniquely positioned to provide the best cost effective radiation detection solutions to the Homeland Security Market. With extensive commercial expertise and a commitment to the delivering disruptive capabilities, Symetrica provides outstanding solutions for customs, border protection, law enforcement, emergency services, military personnel and first responders.

The company was established by Dr. Matthew Dallimore, Dr Grant Crossingham, Dr David Ramsden and Dr. Brian Lever in 2002 to commercialize high performance gamma-ray spectrometers as a spin out from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton. Since then Symetrica research and development have provided operational solutions to many real world detection and identification challenges, work that has culminated in over 1000 fielded detection systems and an unencumbered patent portfolio. Symetrica established the North American technology and manufacturing center in Maynard, Massachusetts in 2005 to support our partners and the United States government. The location builds gamma and neutron detector subsystems for the RadSeeker and is the development and production center for the VeriFinder. Symetrica Discovery Technology® brand is distributed worldwide on Symetrica products and is incorporated as OEM solutions in equipment from our commercial partners. 


Radiation Detection, Isotope Identification, Neutron Detection, Radiation Portal Monitors, Nuclear Safeguards, Civil Nuclear Supply Chain, Nuclear Medicine, Neutron Dosimetry, Military Radiation Detection, Mobile Detection, Active Interrogation.

The staff of Government Security News, Lead Sponsor HID GLOBAL and Lead Judge Chuck Brooks congratulate Symetrica, Inc as 2016 Winner in the category of “Best Nuclear/Radiation Detection category in the GSN 2016 Awards and wish the company many more years of brilliant success!


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