ISU Magazine

Volume 42 | Number 2 | Spring 2012

ScanTech Press Conference

Left to right: Dolan Falconer, George Imel, President Arthur Vailas and Eric Burgett at the press conference announcing the new partnership.

ISU Photographic Services/Susan Duncan

ISU, ScanTech Partner for Testing

Spring 2012 Issue


Technology boosts future of Security and Energy


In October, Idaho State University and radiation technology company ScanTech announced a partnership that will create a testing ground for the latest in national security technology.

The company is providing Eric Burgett, ISU assistant professor in the School of Engineering, Department of Nuclear Engineering and Health Physics, with the use of a high-quality accelerator that can scan and view the insides of large land and sea cargo containers. There are currently only two such accelerators in use in the world.

Unlike an X-ray, these scanners can tell what round packages contain. Being able to see what has been put in cargo containers from overseas could have implications for national security. Products tested at ISU will go to border crossings and ports-of-entry.

"It gives us the ability to image not only cargo containers, but we'll be able to take the same accelerator and use it for nuclear energy research," Burgett said.

The high-tech imaging accelerator may also enable ISU researchers to implement new, cost-effective techniques in irradiating fruits and produce.

A third possible application of the innovative technology is the irradiation of medical equipment, specifically surgical instruments. Currently instruments have to be shipped out of the area, which is costly.

Idaho State University President Arthur Vailas said ScanTech is just the first company to announce a partnership with ISU to use the RISE (Research and Innovation in Science and Engineering) Complex. The facility was designed to host research partnerships with both the private and public sector.

ScanTech President and CEO Dolan Falconer, whose company is based in Georgia, said he is excited to build opportunities for students, and a relationship with businesses in the community. ScanTech also partners with Premier Technologies in Blackfoot.

"This will grow into commercial, long-term strategic partnerships for manufacturers to actually help us in manufacturing and assembling for deployment of our product around the world for sale and income," he said.

Falconer and Vailas also noted how these types of partnerships create unique learning opportunities for ISU students.