Spark Chamber Design and Construction
The purpose of this project is to build a spark chamber, which is a functioning particle detector that will hopefully be installed in the CEBAF center for the public to get a visual representation of cosmic rays. The basic idea of the detector is its creation of sparks following the path that a cosmic ray, a charged particle such as a muon, took through the chamber. This works through the particle ionizing the path of Helium molecules as it passes through the chamber. Because scintillators at both ends of the chamber set off a circuit that provides high voltage to every other aluminum plate within the chamber, the ionized path is the path that the charge would take, creating the spark. The majority of the project so far has dealt with the mechanical design of the project. For instance, a major portion of the project dealt with the design of a base plate upon which the spark chamber would sit. This involved understanding gas systems so that the Helium would not leak out of the chamber and into the atmosphere. The second part of the project mostly deals with electrical engineering. This involves creating a circuit system that will translate the pulses of electrons that should come from the Silicon photomultipliers into the high voltages with low currents needed to charge 10 of the 20 aluminum plates. Overall, the project has been very informative and focused on many aspects of science and engineering.