A Pocket Size Muon Detector

Pocket-sized device detects charged particles in surrounding air.


The Earth’s climate is showered with high-vitality enormous beams that have been impacted from supernovae and other astrophysical marvels long ways past the Nearby planetary group. At the point when inestimable beams crash into the World’s climate, they rot into muons, charged particles that are somewhat heavier than an electron.

Muons exist for few seconds only. But they can penetrate the Earth’s surface and travel several kilometers through rock and ice.

Now, MIT scientists have developed a pocket-sized cosmic ray muon detector in order to detect such hazardous particles. It is relatively simple, which costs around $100.

A Pocket Size Device Muon Detector
The detector can be made with common electrical parts, and when turned on, it lights up and counts each time a muon passes through. The relatively simple device costs just $100 to build, making it the most affordable muon detector available today.
Courtesy of the researchers

The device is equipped with common electrical parts that when started, it enlighten and counts each time a muon passes through.

The study led, Spencer Axani said, “This muon detector can be carried around to measure muon rates in virtually any environment.”

“You get funny looks when you take particle detectors into the subway, but we did that in Boston. Since the muon rate will decrease the further down you go, we put the detectors in a subway station to measure how far underground we were.”

Scientists actually wanted to build this device as a miniature add-on to IceCube. For that, scientists inserted the detector into PINGU (Precision IceCube Next Generation Upgrade). Doing this causes increment the detector’s sensitivity to low-energy neutrinos. Thus, the detector can potentially track the precise position of muons.

While most lab-scale muon indicators are produced using vast, cumbersome photomultiplier and considerably bigger batteries to control them, Axani searched for approaches to recoil the outline. He also designed simple electronics and software components to display the number of muons passing through the detector.

Axani said, “At sea level, you might see one count every two seconds at sea level, but on a plane at cruising altitude, that rate increases by about a factor of 50 — a dramatic change. From the measured rate, you can back-calculate what the actual altitude of the plane was.”

Scientists also want to apply their pocket detector as a means of muon tomography. It is a technique that uses the distribution of muons to create a three-dimensional image of the amount of material surrounding a detector.

Axani said, “That’s something I’d like to try out at some point, maybe to map out the office on the floor above me. For now, I like to take these detectors in my briefcase and measure the muon rate when I’m traveling.”

MIT professor of physics Janet Conrad said, “This is a really neat example of how pretty esoteric physics can produce something which is directly useful.”

Scientists even have started an outreach program called CosmicWatch, with a website that lists parts to purchase and detailed instructions on how to assemble, calibrate, and run the detector.

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