Queensborough Community College QuarkNet Center 2016 Annual Report
In 2016 one high school teacher and five community college students worked with the QuarkNet detector and on building a Queensborough Community College (QCC) cosmic ray muon detector prototype. The prototype was built from surplus scintillator obtained from Fermilab CDF, surplus photomultiplier tubes, and a leased QuarkNet DAQ board.
Leman Manhattan Preparatory School teacher
For 3 weeks in the summer of 2016 a high school physics teacher from the Leman Manhattan Preparatory School participated in the program at QCC as a QuarkNet lead teacher. The QuarkNet counters were plateaued and performance and flux studies completed. As part of the process to build counters the sensitivities to light at different wavelengths were evaluated for the QuarkNet PVT scintillator (peak emission 425nm), surplus CDF NE114 PVT scintillator (434nm), Sens-Tech photomultiplier tubes (PMT’s), 350-425nm, and Adit PMTs (375-425nm). The performance of QuarkNet Sens-Tech and Adit PMT’s were measured: PMT voltage divider circuits were studied; a PMT testing apparatus consisting of different color LEDs driven by a pulse generator was used to test the PMTs; a digital spectrometer was used to measure LED spectra and a laser power meter to measure LED output power.
In the spring semester a QCC engineering technology student was enrolled in and completed a physics research projects course (PH900). A QuarkNet detector kit was built and the four counters plateaued and a flux study completed. This student trained a new student to use the QuarkNet detector.
In the spring semester a QCC computer technology student was enrolled in and completed a physics research projects course (PH900). A QuarkNet detector kit was built. A PMT testing setup was assembled consisting of an LED in an enclosure to keep out ambient light, a pulse generator to turn the LED light on and off, a power supply and an oscilloscope. Two surplus PMTs obtained from the MARIACHI project at Brookhaven National Lab were tested.
In the summer semester a QCC computer science student worked on the cosmic ray project while enrolled in physics research projects course (PH900). The four QuarkNet counters were plateaued and several flux and shower studies completed. This student trained two new students to use the QuarkNet detector.
Suffolk County Community College student
For 10 weeks in the summer an engineering student from the Suffolk County Community College worked on the cosmic ray project while in the summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at QCC. Two PMTs were tested which included some correspondence with a scientist from the Electronics Detector Group at the Brookhaven National Lab. A 1m x 0.3m cosmic ray counter was built out of PVT plastic and a PMT; the rough edges of the scintillator were sanded up to 2000 grit, the scintillator was wrapped with foil and black paper, mated it to a PMT and cosmic ray signals observed on an oscilloscope. The counter was wired along with a second counter to a QuarkNet DAQ board to perform a coincidence study.
Bergen County Community College student
For 10 weeks in the summer a STEM student from the Bergen County Community College worked on the cosmic ray project while in the summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at QCC. A 1m x 0.3m cosmic ray counter was built out of PVT plastic and a PMT; the student worked with the machinist at QCC to saw the rough edges of five PVT scintillator panels, sanded the edges up to 2000 grit, wrapped one of the scintillators with foil and black paper, mated it to a PMT and observed cosmic ray signals on an oscilloscope. The counter was wired along with a second 1m long counter to a QuarkNet DAQ board to perform a coincidence study. Additionally a list of parts needed to build a cosmic ray detector was made and the ordering process begun for silicone optical coupler pads, Novus liquid sanding grit, light sources to test PMTs and coaxial cable.
The QCC Center's mentor managed the student and teacher projects mentioned above, wrote and submitted a QCC interdepartmental proposal for the use of a 40 foot by 20 foot laboratory room as a cosmic ray lab, and obtained 6 computers for the cosmic ray lab. Working with QuarkNet staff five 1m long scintillator sheets from CDF surplus were obtained; 5 surplus PMTs were obtained for student projects to build detectors.