QuarkNet Annual Report 2017 - University of Tennessee, Knoxville

September 24, 2017

The summer 2017 is the first year for QuarkNet at UTK. Two teachers, Tommy Eggleston (West High
Science teacher) and Erica Johnson (Halls High School Science teacher) were part of the QuarkNet
program. There were two main goals the UTK center wanted to achieve:
1. Cosmic ray studies with the QuarkNet Cosmic Ray Muon Detector
2. Analysis of data from the MicroBooNE neutrino experiment leading to the planned
International Neutrino Master Class Program
Both teachers performed exceptionally well during their internship period and will take leading roles
moving forward.
Cosmic ray muon studies with the CRMD:
We received the QuarkNet CRMD kit in June and after the CRMD training workshop given by the
QuarkNet fellow at UTK, the two teachers started operating the detector. Building the cosmic ray
detector provided good hardware experience to the two teachers and taught them the basic elements
that make a particle physics experiment. The first goal with CRMD was to calibrate the detector by
plateauing the Photomultiplier Tubes (PMTs). Both teachers were instructed to perform the full
calibration procedure to understand how calibration is typically done in experiments. After the initial
calibration, both teachers collected data continuously and focused on measuring different properties of
cosmic rays. Tommy Eggleston focused on measuring muon time of flight where as Erica Johnson
focused on measuring the muon lifetime.
Data analysis with the MicroBooNE experiment:
The MicroBooNE experiment is built to explore the properties of neutrinos. Neutrinos are one of the
fundamental particles in the universe. The MicroBooNE experiment at Fermilab is aimed at answering
whether there are more than three flavors of neutrinos.. Since neutrinos cannot be directly detected as
they are neutral, we study them through their interactions with other particles. MicroBooNE uses the
innovative Liquid Argon Time Projection Chamber (LArTPC) technology to study neutrinos. This
detector is placed in a large tank of liquid argon. Neutrino interactions with argon produce charged
particles that ionize argon producing ionization electrons that drift towards the anode in the applied
electric field. These electrons register as signals on the anode wire planes, which can later be used to
reconstruct charged particle tracks.
As a first step, a few lecture/discussion sessions were held to teach the teachers about basics of
neutrinos, MicroBooNE experiment along with what techniques experimentalists use to detect neutrino
interactions. To help teachers get familiar with this, two practice exercises were conducted where
teachers were given 20 event displays in each session and are asked to identify the various particles
(tracks) shown in the event displays and form a summary table listing what type of particles were
identified. After this initial step, the next step was to identify and implement a event display that is
suitable for high school teachers/students to perform data analysis visually. The ARGO event display
(http://argo-microboone.fnal.gov) developed by Prof. Nathaniel Tagg (MicroBooNE collaborator) was
identified as the most suitable browser based event display that can be used by teachers. The two main
goals with MicroBooNE data analysis is 1). measurement of velocity of drifting electrons and 2).
measuring the purity of liquid argon. The teachers were able to use ARGO to perform both of these
measurements and in the process gave a lot of good feedback to Tagg to further improve the display
with needed information to do the analysis. This will be pursued further moving into the future.

(Full annual report attached.)