2012 BFY Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: W37 - The Angular Dependence of Cosmic Ray Muons
Abstract: Many undergraduate level experiments are possible with a cosmic ray muon telescope. Two of the more common examples are the muon lifetime, and the angular distribution of muons produced in the upper atmosphere. In the process of making these measurements, students learn about scintillating detectors, signal processing electronics, coincidence counting, data acquisition software, and the treatment of experimental data.

In addition to assembling the detector and the components of the data acquisition system, students at Muhlenberg designed and built a mount that rotates in polar and azimuthal angles. For the workshop, this equipment will be used to determine the dependence of the cosmic ray flux on polar angle. Conference participants will connect the detector to signal processing and logic modules, and take data using the system.

The detector consists of two plastic scintillating slabs connected to photomultiplier tubes. They are mounted as described above. The experiment also utilizes a NIM crate containing a power supply, discriminators, a coincidence logic module, and a NIMBox (Nuclear Electronics Miniature Box) programmable Logic/DAQ module. The remainder of the data acquisition is performed with a PC running LabView and a digital interface box.

For a thorough understanding of the rates, students must grapple with the geometric acceptance of the detector, counting statistics, sources of systematic error, and the efficiency of the detectors. We look forward to giving conference attendees some hands on experience with the detector, discussing different ways to use the apparatus, and sharing insights on interesting pedagogical approaches.
Abstract Type: Workshop

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Brett Fadem
Muhlenberg College