Effectiveness of Pulsers Exposed to Radiation


Teacher Name: Don Bennett (Atrisco Heritage High School)

Research Mentor: Sally Seidel (University of New Mexico)




The purpose of our research is to test devices created in the lab called pulsers.  Pulsers are circuit boards with L.E.D.s that emit a blue light.  The pulsers are intended to replicate the blue light produced by Cherenkov radiation and to be used to calibrate the detectors at CERN’s Hadron Collider.  We test the pulsers by having them exposed to gamma radiation at various intensities, and then compare their ability to perform at various voltages.    This is accomplished by attaching the pulsers to a power supply and placing them into a light-tight enclosure (which prevents any outside light from interfering with the measurement) along with a light detector.  We attach the pulser to an oscilloscope, and the oscilloscope displays the performance of the pulsar as we increase the voltage.  We record the data and compare the results to the unirradiated control as well as to others that were irradiated at different levels of exposure.   

The research is ongoing, so as of present it is too early to make a determination of the pulsers' ability to perform under radioactive conditions.  However, if our research concludes that the pulsers can perform, then they will be most beneficial to the research at CERN in calibrating their detectors.