University of Kansas QuarkNet Center
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified)
on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 21:22
A collaboration of teachers, students and physicists involved in inquiry-based, particle physics explorations.
Ottawa High School physics students participated in a data analysis event in collaboration with students at approximately 77 different locations around the world. The OHS involvement included two days of data analysis and some time spent learning about particle detectors and how the events analyzed in this event were detected and recorded. At the conclusion of the event, we participated in a videoconference to discuss our results and hear from others and experts about particle physics.
(Continued in PDF Document Attached)
Hello all, I'm working on editing the abstracts for the summer reserach program. My work in my classroom has been keeping me too busy recently to spend much time at home, let alone on the abstracts, but I have finally moved the last of my classroom materials from the old room to my brand new room in our new science wing.
My wife and I took the CRMD to a location just outside of Horton, KS for the 9/21 Eclipse. We were unfortunately completely cloud-covered from before the eclipse until about 10-15 minutes after, with only a couple of barely perceptable glimpses through clouds as totality apporached, and no view of the corona whatsoever. We look forward to 2024...
On the data front, in the brightness of the day I was setting up the CRMD and couldn't read the computer screen much at all. As a result, I did not see that I was getting no GPS data, as in my hurry to set things up I neglected to connect the GPS to the DAQ. I am now looking ata whether I can reasonably reconstruct event times from known time points and the CPLD 25mhz clock signal.
I'll update with abstracts as soon as I finish edits. In the mean time, you are welcome to view the abstracts and presentation videos from several years of KU research. See the following tweet for links to abstracts and vids: https://twitter.com/jim_deane/status/891073572243992576
Names: Brittany Crossen, Ottawa High School, Ottawa, KS
Ardrian Tidwell, Insight School of Kansas, Olathe, KS
Research Teacher Mentor: James Deane, Ottawa High School, Ottawa, KS
Research Mentor: Prof. Dave Besson, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Purpose: We are building apparatus to help us detect and characterize radio wave emission from cosmic ray impacts in the upper atmosphere and the particle showers they create. As part of this we learned how to use and operate a Cosmic Ray (Muon) Detector, or CR(M)D, for the purpose of detecting and analyzing showers produced by cosmic rays. The ultimate goal is to find the correlation between cosmic ray showers and cosmic ray generated radio waves. It is important to ensure that our system only triggers on events that are extremely likely to be muons from cosmic ray showers, and that the trigger rate is compatible with the radio digitization hardware.
Methods: we began with a partially assembled CRMD. Several issues were discovered, including a PMT which did not operate at the same frequency as the others at the same tube supply voltage. We were able to calibrate this tube at a higher voltage, and it seems to operate and gives expected results compared to the other tubes. We also spent some time familiarizing ourselves with the computer commands necessary to communicate with and control the various settings of the Digital Acquisition board (DAQ). However, the commands and language were eventually deciphered and new avenues of data acquisition were opened.
Several pieces of hardware were used jointly to achieve data collection, from the QuarkNet Data Acquisition Board (DAQ) to the individual detectors. We used Ubuntu linux and the SCREEN program to connect, control, and collect data from the DAQ. Some of the commands for changing settings on the detector were discovered in the process of troubleshooting.
Results: We have evaluated multiple paddle configurations and settings to properly trigger the radio receiver and radio data acquisition part of the experiment. However, further testing is needed to evaluate more configuations and determine optimal settings. For this reason, more data in different scintillator paddle configurations is being collected and analyzed to reduce the trigger rate to a frequency where the radio wave detector and acquisition system can operate (around 50 triggers per second).
We are adjusting the following variables: coincidence number, gate width (the time window during which the detectors need to be activated, starting from the first detector’s activation), threshold level (the “strength” of the signal from a detector), and the geometry of the detector paddles.
The project is still incomplete, as the best detection rate we have so far achieved has not met the goal detection rate. We also need to determine how well we are discriminating true cosmic ray shower events. Comparing our count rate at the paddle and DAQ configurations we have used, we think there may still be false detector signals.
Meaning to Larger Project: The CRMD is intended to be used with a radio wave detector and digitizing system. The CRMD will detect cosmic rays by their muon showers and create a focus period for the radio wave detector. Studying radio wave emissions may give us further insight into the origin and characteristics of the particles that are cosmic rays.
Continuing to adjust the settings and geometry of the detector to increase the discrimination and decrease trigger rate is necessary to be able to continue to the final goal of radio detection. The radio wave detector, antenna, and digitizer will need to be added to the experimental setup and calibrated. The CRMD triggering will signal the digitizer to trigger and potentially capture cosmic ray radio signals, the original and ultimate goal of the project.
We would like to thank the following for their assistance during the course of this research:
Josh Macy, Undergraduate, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Dave Hoppert, Fermilab, Batavia, IL
Mark Adams, Fermilab, Batavia, IL