Rochester Center Report, August 2016

University of Kansas Summer 2016

Report is in the attached pdf.

Belle Electron-Positron Annihilation Analysis: A Search for a Dark Photon

Belle Electron-Positron Annihilation Analysis: A Search for a Dark Photon

Name: Margaret Lockwood, Lawrence High School
Research Teacher Mentor: James Deane, Ottawa High School, Ottawa, KS
Research Mentor: Prof. Dave Besson, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Purpose: Analyzing positron-electron annihilations that result in either a positron-electron pair or two positron-electron pairs could provide support the theorized dark photon or other dark sector particles giving evidence for physics beyond the current standard model.

Methods: I first applied for and eventually received an account to access the Belle ( ) KEKB server. The data from the Belle asymmetric B factory collider in Japan provided me with data I could run scripts on to generate histograms of the invariant mass of collisions of interest. Any narrow spikes in the invariant mass histograms could indicate interesting physics, and potentially a dark photon. I installed a virtualbox to run Linux on my computer in order to become familiar with Linux commands. Waiting for my application approval, I started to become familiar with ROOT by following tutorials found on the internet and provided by other students. I learned more about the Belle collider in order to understand how and why the data I will be analyzing is produced. Once I gained access to the Belle server I ran a job using code a graduate student, Steven Prochyra, had created to start analyzing data. I used the generated data and information from Belle to become more familiar with the Belle framework. I started making histograms of the invariant mass from the data generated. I am starting to modify the macro that I used to analyze the data so that I can analyze different aspects of the data.

Results:  I started editing the macro Steven Prochyra made to look at positron-positron and electron-electron collisions in order to use this data as background noise to compare to the electron-positron collisions. I made some invariant mass histograms electron-positron collisions, but it is difficult to know if I did these correctly or if the plots indicate anything interesting until I create more plots.

Meaning to Larger Project:  Analyzing data from Asymmetric B Factories has led to evidence of CP (charge-parity) violations, information about rare decays, and can potentially provide support for new particles that may be a part of the dark sector. Finding a dark photon could lead to information about dark matter, the earliest moments of the Universe, new forces and other new particles outside of the standard model.

Future Research: I am going to continue to work on this project because I have only been working on getting over the Belle framework learning curve. The Belle data is a valuable resource that can be used for a vast amount of research projects regarding different decays. I will start creating my own macros to analyze different aspects of the data and continue to look for new physics including hints of the hidden sector.


  • Steven Prochyra, Graduate Student, University of Kansas

Investigation Into the Applicability of Solar Panels in Powering HiCal2

Investigation Into the Applicability of Solar Panels in Powering HiCal2



Finn Dobbs, Lawrence Free State High School, Lawrence, KS

Roxanna Hamidpour, Blue Valley North High School

Sabrea Platz, Lawrence Free State High School, Lawrence, KS

Asher Supernaw, Lawrence Free State High School, Lawrence, KS

Research Teacher Mentor:

James Deane, Ottawa High School, Ottawa, KS

Research Mentor:

Prof. Dave Besson, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Purpose: Our purpose is to investigate the use of solar power for the HiCal2 balloon payload. The original battery system design limited the HiCal2 to 24 total hours of use in a 240 hour flight. Testing of solar panels in real world conditions is required to determine if the solar panels are sturdy enough to withstand the conditions at normal altitude in the antarctic atmosphere.


Methods: We tested the antenna efficacy by determining if a signal could be seen from thirty kilometers away. Successful signal transmission and reception at a distance of 30km is required because HiCal2 will fly from 25km-30km above the ground level in Antarctica on its flight. Antenna testing was accomplished by transmitting a signal and receiving on an ARIANNA antenna, then measuring this signal’s strength at 30 dBm above surrounding noise.

Once this data was collected, we began construction on an antenna to be flown on a weather balloon. Through testing multiple antenna designs with SWR measurements and wind resistance exercises for optimization of geometry, the Chicken Wire Antenna (CWA) was determined to be satisfactory for our experiment. With a proper transmission implement in place, a data collection strategy was devised. The CWA would transmit a signal, which would then be received by the ARIANNA antennas. An oscilloscope connected to the ARIANNA antenna record a waveform to floppy disk.  

Aside from the CWA, the payload consisted of a data logger, GPS, amplifier, solar panel, and a voltage controlled oscillator (VCO). The data logger was monitored by the solar panel and served to ensure that the solar panel continuously supplied power to the payload. When devising a plan to transmit the signal, an amp circuit system was investigated, but the transmitted signal was variable and unpredictable. Instead of this amp circuit system, we used the VCO as the means of producing a signal that would then be transmitted by the CWA. The VCO’s tuning input voltage was directly connected to the solar panel, meaning that the frequency of the signal transmitted by the CWA correlated directly to the voltage supplied by the solar panel. This payload was then constructed and secured to the balloon.

Results: The weather balloon and payload were launched successfully, but we could not successfully retrieve ground station and logged data. The ground station based oscilloscope saved the same waveform multiple times rather than the expected real-time data. Without long-term data from the received VCO signal, we cannot determine the stability of the solar panel system voltage over time.  After the flight, we were unable to locate the payload, and as of the writing of this abstract it remains lost. If we do retrieve the payload, we could analyze data from the data logger to determine the performance of the solar panel system voltage over time.

Meaning to Larger Project: The purpose of our summer research was to devise an alternate power source for the HiCal2 experiment that was lighter and more reliable than batteries. We wanted to test solar panels in a real world environment with both temperature inversion and potential weather conditions. We were not able to answer these questions conclusively with this launch, but future balloon launches will build on these successes and failures.

Future Research: A second balloon launch is planned for the near future, which will include a more reliable retrieval process. A reliable retrieval is vital in developing confidence in future balloon launches so that costly equipment can be used without fear of significant losses.


We appreciate the assistance and guidance of the following students during this project.

  • Conner Brown: Undergraduate Student, University of Kansas

  • Joshua Macy: Senior Lead Undergraduate Student, University of Kansas

2016 The University of Iowa Quarknet Annual Report

During the summer of 2016, three teachers and six students from Bettendorf High School engaged in research for the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) forward calorimeter group at The University of Iowa.  This team of researchers focused on creating and testing materials for use in the forward calorimeters in CMS at The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).  The research consisted of creating and testing materials for use in the high radiation regions of CMS.  

The team began by evaporating organic-fluorescent compounds on borosilicate plates in an attempt to create plates that pumped visible light when activated by an ultraviolet (UV) LASER.  The students evaporated the dyes in solvents and then annealed them in an oven in the absence of oxygen to make crystals that would not only fluoresce but conduct the light of fluorescence to the edges of the plates.  The team also honed their skills in testing the plates using an oscilloscope and Photomultiplier Tube (PMT).

After the students worked on the evaporated plates, they worked on creating epoxy plates laced with fluorescent chemicals.  In an attempt to make radiation hard plates of fluorescent materials, the students worked with a radiation hard epoxy and their fluorescent dyes.  An attempt was made to create radiation hard plates of epoxy that would compare with the current plastic plates used in the Electromagnetic Hadron (HE) forward calorimeter.  The students dissolved the dyes in the epoxy and made tiles that were tested with the UV LASER and oscilloscope.  Data was taken and analyzed in reports.


During the week of July 25-29, twenty-six teachers from all over the state of Iowa attended an institute for particle physics in high schools.  They spent the week studying The Standard Model, making an audio transducer to take back to their schools, touring Fermilab, working through the Quarknet activities with 2 Quarknet presenters, attended lectures from educational and physics professors and had a live online conversation with 2 researchers at CERN.


Idaho State University QuarkNet Activities for 2016

The eleventh annual ISU QuarkNet Summer Institute was held June 6 - 10, 2016.  QuarkNet veterans Robert Franckowiak of Logan, Dr. Steven Millward of Grace, Idaho, Jodie Hale, Michael Matusek, and Geoffrey Williams of Pocatello, Idaho, and Keith Quigley of Roy Utah, participated this year, along with QuarkNet newbies Cara Clark of Midvale, Utah, and Kathy Freeman of Eagle, Idaho.  During the institute, these Associate Teachers and Dr. Steve Shropshire plateaued each detector, conducted performance studies, and did a preliminary blessing of each CRD.  Starting Tuesday Robert Fannkowiak led discussions for ways to use the CRDs in the classroom and availability of web/online resources.  Newer attendees were paired with more seasoned members as each group brainstormed a research topic, then collected, uploaded, and viewed data. Troubleshooting some of the more frequent issues were also explored. 

A more thorough tour of the e-lab was modeled on Tuesday to show the capabilities and benefits to the teacher and the student. The geometry Upload was discussed to make sure the time stamp in the geometry configuration is previous to the data file that is associated with that geometry. The project map, analysis tools, and blessing were discussed as well as the Library and Resources links. The design of a poster was explained to be used to summarize experiments that are done by students and to be produced by the teacher for the workshop (one explaining their individual experiment and another for a lesson plan).  A tour was provided of the Idaho Accelerator Center (IAC) by Wendland Beezhold, Director. Teachers arranged their CRMDs to run various experiments overnight.  A few groups tried some variation of the Time of Flight, while the rest spread the channels at various distances to measure showers.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon CRMD experiments were prepared for overnight collection, with data upload and analysis conduction the following mornings.  Time of Flight experiments were tried in various configurations. The issue of having a positive mean or a negative mean was explored. (Are there a lot of muons traveling through the earth?) If the channels are spaced close together, then it might be reasonable to conclude that there are multiple strikes on the channels from different muons and many from off normal paths. The channels each have an error in the time measurement. When calculating the time difference in the two channels, one should see a systematic (repeatable) result. To compensate for the measurement error it becomes necessary to switch the positions of the channels. The resultant data should provide a reading that has switched the error difference. The average of the two switched measurements should eliminate the error. One attempt to eliminate the additional muons included looking for 3 fold coincidence in 3 channels, while using the data from 2 channels. A second attempt included using two channels placed vertically and voiding any data from the coincidence of the vertical plate with the horizontal. There were also three shower studies that were ran and data collected.  One study involved looking at channel separation at a given height to ascertain if there is a preferred spacing to detect showers. Two other groups arranged their channels in a spread out configuration but in two separate rooms. The point of their experiment was to look for showers between the two individual systems. The routines were then run multiple times with different settings to ascertain what was being calculated within the routine. Gate widths were also adjusted to look for statistical possibilities of time delay errors.

On Thursday and Friday teachers worked on posters and lesson plans of how they would use the CRMDs in their classrooms. Lesson plans and posters were presented to the group on Friday.

A study suggested for next year is to have stacked systems on each floor of the four story building. Using the shower routine, find the events that are from the “same” muon. The time of flight could theoretically be calculated on an “individual” basis. Can the routine be modified to do many days, or multiple detectors?

Two lectures were given during the workshop.  The topics were Current Research at the IAC, presented by Wendland Beezhold, and Pulsed Power Accelerator research by Rick Spielman.

During the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016, all eight of the Associate Teachers who participated in the 2015 Summer Institute shared all seven of the ISU detectors to introduce their students to particle physics. All Associate Teachers who participated in the 2016 Summer Institute, with the exception of Kathy Freeman, will use one of the seven ISU detectors in this fashion in the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016.

The Velocity of Muons in Direct Relation to an Indoor Environment vs. an Outdoor Environment

Jacob Travis (Woodhaven High School), Joseph Kovalchik (Roseville High School)
Mike Niedballa (Michigan Collegiate High School)
Gil Paz (Wayne State University)


The purpose of this experiment is to test if a substantial amount of matter could affect the velocity of a muon as it travels through space. We tested this idea out by collecting data from the scintillators on a wooden shelf that stands 2.175 meters tall, with an average of a 0.725 meter difference in length between each scintillator paddle. The data collected from the paddles is analyzed from the trials the detector runs from both inside the building and outside the building. A time of flight study is ran on both groupings of trials: inside data and outside data. We found that there is no real significant difference in the velocity of the muon comparing the velocity of the muon within the time of flight studies of the indoor and the outdoor data. Possible conclusions that could explain our results could include the possibility that the muons that travel through the building are travelling at such a high velocity that the building can't offer enough impedance to significantly change the muon's velocity. Future studies that could possibly be ran and investigated includes utilizing thicker buildings to run studies in, or running the detectors in a wide open field so the muon’s velocity wouldn’t be hindered by structures or matter farther away from the detectors.


Effects of Varying Water Depths on Shielding Muon Flux

Allen Diao (Troy High School), Ben Zeman (Groves High School)

Mike Niedballa (Michigan Collegiate High School)

Gil Paz (Wayne State University)


The purpose of our experiment was to determine the relationship between depths of water and muon flux. We wanted to see if water could be effectively used to shield detectors from muons. To run the experiment, we set up detectors above and below coolers of water at different depths of water. The data was recorded for periods of over seven hours and each depth had only one trial due to time constraints. We recorded data from all four detectors with a coincidence level of 4, so each muon had to hit all four detectors to be recorded as an event. Therefore, they traveled relatively straight and passed through the water, making our results more accurate. The results of our study saw a steady decline in muon flux as water between the detectors was increased to 85 cm. After testing the various depths of water, we concluded that water does cause a statistically significant difference in muon flux by running an ANOVA test on our data. As a result, it can be reasonably assumed that water is able to shield against low energy muons.

Time of Flight Studies

Dylan Beasley (Huron High School), Mary Zylinski (Utica Academy for International Studies)

Mike Niedballa (Michigan Collegiate High School)

Gil Paz (Wayne State University)


            This experiment is to find the panel layout that gives the most accurate time of flight of muons. We set up three different layouts of panels and veto panels, tested all at three different heights, and ran data collection to get similar hit counts for each height. Data shows too large of discrepancies for each set-up, thus none are viable to use. Most “accurate” in this case, however, is standard 2-panel set-up which had the smallest increase of velocity at 13%. Further improvements could be made with more time to collect more data and run more trials as well as obtain a program that can segment data.

The Effects of Steel Shielding on Observed Muon Flux

Kurt Huebner (Grosse Pointe South High School), Phillip Popp (The Roeper School)

Mike Niedballa (Warren Collegiate High School)

Dr. Gil Paz (Wayne State University)

The purpose of our research was to determine if sheet metal of widths ranging from 1/16th of an inch to ¼ of an inch (in 1/16th of an inch increments) would have a shielding effect in the detection of muon flux. The experiment was performed by using two pair of scintillator paddles with steel plating in between. We found that a quarter inch of steel was effective in reducing the control flux of 479 events/minute/meters2 to 466 events/minute/meters2. Reducing the shielding yielded diminishing returns, to the point where 1/8th of an inch plating gave statistically insignificant results. These results suggest that steel is capable of being used as a shield from cosmic ray. This research could be continued by testing a larger variety of steel plating thicknesses, and even testing different metal’s effectiveness in cosmic ray shielding.