• IFAE
  • IFAE
  • IFAE

DETECTA: measuring cosmic rays coming from the Universe

The Project

Cosmic Rays are a riddle. We do not know where they come from. We do not know why there are so many. The atmosphere protects us from them. But we are still able to detect and study them from earth to solve the mystery they convey.  How can we detect cosmic rays? How can we learn more about them? Experimental physicists build their own scientific instruments. Join us in the DETECTA project to experience a true scientific challenge. You will be able to set up and use a detector to see how subatomic particles behave. By detecting these particles and measuring how they move you will be able to grasp a reality that is way beyond our eyes. The DETECTA project is not about following a step by step procedure. By combining theory and experimental procedures you will use the scientific method to learn how particle detectors work and to understand the building blocks of the Universe.

The participants will have the opportunity to be involved in the electronic setup and testing of a gas detector, which is used to detect particles such as alpha or beta particles coming from radioactive or cosmic sources. The students will learn the basics about particle detection and work with electronics and programming to put into practice the concepts learned. They will work hand by hand with IFAE researchers who will guide them through the experience.

The detectors used in this project have been designed and built at IFAE and the students will be the ones charaterizing them, which is a crucial process in detector research and development. They will work with Arduino electronics, will develop experimental setups and make measurements that will help understand the performance of the detector.

Only when we understand  how the detector work in detail we can then go out and ask nature about the behaviour of cosmic rays and other subatomic particles. Building and understanding detectors is crucial to make experiments with them. DETECTA is about designing experiments to visualize the building bocks of the Universe. Just like experimental physicists do.

Matching profiles

Physics, astrophysics, informatics, computer sciences, electronics, engineering

Required materials

Laptop

Coordinator of the project
Federico Sánchez

Federico Sánchez

Federico Sánchez studied at the University of Sevilla and got his PhD at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). He is an experimental physicist specialized in neutrino physics and detector technology. He participates in the T2K experiment in Japan where he has made major contributions to the experiment construction and main results, mainly the first explicit appearance result in neutrino oscillations. He was awarded with the Breakthrough prize on fundamental physics in 2016, together with the K2K and T2K collaborations for the discovery of neutrino oscillations.

Thorsten Lux

Thorsten Lux

Thorsten Lux did his PhD at the University of Hamburg in Germany. He has been working in the field of gas detector R&D since more than one decade. He participated in the T2K experiment in Japan and is now developing the WA105 project, a 6x6x6 m3 large prototype for the next generation of long baseline neutrino experiments.

The center
IFAE

The Institute of High Energy Physics (IFAE) has two main divisions, experimental and theory, which develop frontier research in Fundamental Physics, and a third division developing Applied Physics.