Muon Detector

I tried to make a primitive muon detector out of fluorescent light tubes. I followed the instruction given by cosmicrays.org's website. Click here to check them out. I used tin foil instead of the wire meshwork suggested by the website. I think what one needs is capacitive coupling which tin foil should provide, and the wire mesh suggested is expensive. My apparatus never worked, although I did routinely get single segment flashes, but I never saw a line of flashes indicating a muon strike. I concluded that this design is way too dependent on the applied voltage; I had all sorts of time dependent tube effects and day to day variations. Meaning one day at x volts the tubes would work fine and the next they would not at that voltage. The time dependent aspect of the tubes is that they seem to saturate with time, becoming non-responsive after they are energized for a while. One thing I also had to fix was current leakage through the wood at the lower end of the device. I placed a piece of plastic there upon the advice of Dr. Condit (my key adviser to me on this project). I should also note that I built the tube base at an angle because we thought that in doing so we could increase the number of ionized gas particles by increasing the path length a muon would travel if it were to travel through the tube. One last thing - this project was not an actual scientific endeavor, it was a side garage type project I worked on while assisting Dr. Wackeroth of the University at Buffalo Physics department teach high school kids about particles, electricity and magnetism and special relativity.