Faculty Sponsor: Anthony Kuchera, Keith Frye
A muon is an elementary particle that frequently rains onto the Earth’s surface. The goal of this project is to create a portable detector that measures the muon flux rate. This poster overviews the detector’s mechanics, as well as the processes involved in building it. The detector works by encasing a scintillating material with aluminum foil and electrical tape such that a silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) can read each emission of photons as a signal. This signal is amplified and processed through electronic circuitry and Arduino code, and the detector ultimately outputs the rate at which muons have been detected and the total count of muons since the detector has been turned on. Constructing the detector involved the use of machine and electronics shop equipment and the Makerspace (Studio M). We utilized the Makerspace to mill printed circuit boards (PCBs) for the SiPM and the main circuitry, and built electronics cases using their laser cutter. We then utilized the equipment available at the machine and electronics shop to polish the scintillator, surface-mount solder components onto the PCBs, fabricate the light-tight case for the SiPM and scintillator, and to combine these various components and construct the detector. The detector is a work in progress; currently, issues with the circuitry creating extraneous noise is being worked on.