Cosmic rays' detection: astrophysics at your fingertips

The Project

The participants will have the opportunity to build a muon detector using plastic scintillators and silicon photomultipliers. The students will go through the basics of particle detection and will have the chance to understand what the role of each component in the detector is. They will figure out how we can catch the particles we want to observe and reject those we want to avoid. They will learn about light detection, properties of materials and readout electronics working hand by hand with IFAE researchers.

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 of other applications. Building and understanding detectors are crucial to making experiments with them. And to trigger your imagination.

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. The students will also design and perform experiments to understand the behavior of muons and cosmic rays in the atmosphere.

Matching profiles

Students interested in particle physics or astrophysics. Students willing to spend time in the lab doing experimental work with a clear goal but not a unique path to achieve it. It would be nice to have build a working group with a wide range of skills & interests: some with computing skills, some with experimental & electronic interests, some more inclined to theory. Knowing how to work in a group is a must.

Required materials

A laptop would help but it is not required.

Coordinator of the project
Óscar Blanch

Óscar Blanch

  • Researcher in the Gamma Rays group at IFAE.
  • Outreach coordinator in the MAGIC collaboration.
  • Coordinator for the construction of the cameras for the largest telescopes of Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), the coming new observatory for very-high-energy gamma rays.
  • Extensive experience bringing high energy astrophysics to the general public and to make available to young people his knowledge in technology and physics in informative talks.
The center

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.