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.