Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Cosmic-Ray-Muon Detector - PHYSICS
The design of a simple, inexpensive cosmic-ray-muon detector has led to an international outreach program
Particle physicist Spencer Axani originally set out to build a cosmic-ray muon detector for an experiment in Antarctica. He writes about how the simple, inexpensive design inspired a new initiative, CosmicWatch, in which students build their own desktop detectors to perform experiments and demonstrations.
Interesting reading via Physics Todayhttp://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.1.20170614a/full/
First things first...what is a muon?
When cosmic rays enter the Earth's atmosphere they collide with atoms and molecules, mainly oxygen and nitrogen. The interaction produces a cascade of lighter particles, a so-called air shower secondary radiation that rains down, including x-rays, muons, protons, alpha particles, pions, electrons, and neutrons.
Muons are the most numerous energetic charged particles at sea level. A charged particle cannot avoid losing energy by ionization. As it passes through matter the charged particle interacts with the electric fields and typically knocks loose some of the loosely bound outer electrons. A muon interacts very little with matter except by ionization. Because of this, muons can travel large distances and commonly reach the ground.
Muons - info source:http://cosmic.lbl.gov/SKliewer/Cosmic_Rays/Muons.htm
Photos via Google photo search and Physics Today.