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For most people, infrared technology calls to mind soldiers with night-vision goggles or energy audits that identify where heat escapes from homes during the winter season.

But for two Brigham Young University professors, infrared holds the potential to spot from afar whether a site is being used to make nuclear weapons.

Statistics professor Candace Berrett developed a model that precisely characterizes the material in each pixel of an image taken from a long-wave infrared camera. The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration funded the project through a grant awarded to BYU engineering professor Gustavious Williams.

The government's long-term goal for infrared technology is to remotely detect the exact materials, chemicals and gases coming and going from factories or other sites suspected of illegal nuclear production. Berrett and Williams tested their new method of analyzing infrared images with more basic materials using data taken by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The results appear in a report published by the journal Technometrics.

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