Radiation imaging, as a key issue in nuclear technology, has received considerable attention in the industry. It is widely used in nuclear medicine, Customs supervision, and many other areas. The objective of this investigation is to get insight into the principle, operation characteristics and image characteristics of radiation imaging.

In this paper, an investigation on radiation imaging is conducted on three main inspection systems for Customs supervision, including small X-ray inspection machine, CT baggage inspection system, and large container inspection system. The principle, operation characteristics, evaluation indexes, pseudo-color processing and image characteristics are discussed in detail. The results indicate that the spatial resolution of small X-ray inspection machine is much higher than that of CT baggage/goods inspection system and large container/vehicle inspection system. It is a challenge to identify substances and specific shapes in the case of overlapping for small X-ray inspection system.

Moreover, the mechanism of X-ray images is discussed as well. The radiation images are divided into three types, including two-dimensional, pseudo-color, high spatial resolution; two-dimensional, gray, high spatial resolution; three-dimensional, pseudo-color, high density resolution. The further investigation on machine inspection images is suggested to focus on the application environment. For some objects with specific characteristics, such as amorphous, explosive, the CT baggage inspection has much better performance than other systems.

The research in this paper reveals the mechanism, parametric effect and imaging characteristics. It could provide a necessary foundation for the follow-up intelligent processing, detection, identification and annotation for radiation imaging in nuclear area. The research on inspection devices could lend strong experience to medical treatment, industry and many other fields.

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