Cosmic rays detection, astrophysics at your fingertips
Cosmic rays are particles that are constantly bombarding the Earth. We do not know where they come from, but what we do know is that when they reach the atmosphere they produce a large amount of particles, some of which can be detected. Some of these are the so called muons. But, what are muons? How can we detect them? What can we learn from cosmic rays? You will become an experimental physicist by building your own muon detector.
In this project, you will learn how particles interact with matter, how they are created and destroyed in the atmosphere, what is a particle shower, how particle detectors work and what other purposes can we use them for.
Participants will have the opportunity to build a muon detector using plastic scintillators and silicon photomultipliers. You will go through the basics about particle detection and will have the chance to understand what is the role of each component in the detector. How we can catch the particles we want to observe and reject those we want to avoid. You will learn about light detection, properties of materials and readout electronics working hand by hand with IFAE researchers. The detector we are going to build is meant to be portable, so that it can be taken outside and see what it can tell us about everyday life. You will also design and perform experiments to understand the behavior of muons and cosmic rays in the atmosphere.
In summary, you will become an experimental physicist by designing your setup, answering your questions, and asking yourself new ones. Only when we understand how the detector work in detail we can then go out and ask nature about the behavior of cosmic rays. Only then we can think on other applications. Building and understanding detectors is crucial to make experiments with them. And to trigger your imagination.
Physics, astrophysics, informatics, computer sciences, electronics, engineering