A little over a year ago we’d accounting about a sub $100 muon detector that MIT doctoral applicant [Spencer Axani] and a few others had put together. At the time there was little added than a cardboard on arxiv.org about it. Now, a few versions after they’ve aesthetic it to the akin of a kit with abounding instructions for authoritative your own beneath the banner, CosmicWatch including PCB Gerber files for the two apparent arise boards you’ll allegation to assemble.
What’s a muon? The Earth is beneath connected battery from catholic rays, best of them actuality nuclei expelled from supernova explosions. As they bang with nuclei in our atmosphere, pions and kaons are produced, and the pions again adulteration into muons. These muons are agnate to electrons, having a 1 or -1 charge, but with 200 times the mass.
This pion-to-muon adulteration happens college than 10 km aloft the Earth’s surface. But the muons accept a lifetime at blow of 2.2 μs. This agency that the cardinal of muons peak at about 10 km and abatement as you go down. A jetliner at 30,000 anxiety will appointment far added muons than will addition at the Earth’s apparent area there’s one per cm2 per minute, and the added underground you go the beneath still. This makes them advantageous for answer distance and depth.
How does CosmicWatch ascertain these muons? The alive apparatus of the detector consist of a artificial scintillator, a silicon photomultiplier (SiPM), a capital ambit lath which does arresting addition and aiguille apprehension amid added things, and an Arduino nano.
As a muon passes through the scintillating material, some of its activity is captivated and re-emitted as photons. Those photons are detected by the silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) which again outputs an electrical arresting that is about 0.5 μs advanced and 10-100 mV. That’s again amplified by a agency of 6. However, the amplified beating is too abrupt for the Arduino nano and so it’s continued out by the aiguille detector to almost 100 μs. The Arduino samples the aiguille detector’s achievement and calculates the aboriginal pulse’s amplitude.
Their webpage has copious details on area to get the parts, the software and how to accomplish it. However, they do accept you can either acquisition a bargain photomultiplier about or buy it in quantities of over 100 cast new, apparently as allotment of a academy program. That aggregate purchase makes the aberration amid a $50 allotment and one aloof over $100. But actuality accomplished hackers we’re abiding you can find other means to save costs, and $150 for a muon detector still isn’t too unreasonable.
Detecting muons seems to accept become a affair lately. Not too continued ago we appear on a Hackaday award-winning access for a detector that uses Russian Geiger–Müller Tubes.
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