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Detector Design Goals

Relevant muon properties that drove the design of our muon decay detector:

  1. Muons are charged so we can detect them with a scintillation detector by HV photomultiplier tubes We need a safe HV supply for high school students.
  2. Muons are unstable, living approximately 2 microseconds before they decay. To measure the muon signals, we had to have fast electronics and computer readout.
  3. When muons decay, they disappear and an electron and two neutrinos are created. We must be able to detect the electron (30 MeV) from the decay. Capturing the neutrinos is hopeless, since they are neutral and interact even less than muons, easily traveling straight through the Earth.
  4. Our electronics must allow us to select (trigger) muons and not random electronic noise.
  5. The detector must be large enough so that we can capture enough decaying muons in a few hours to be able to have a viable lab in high schools.

Relevant muon properties that drove the design of our general muon detectors:

  1. Muons are charged so we can detect them with a scintillation detector by HV photomultiplier tubes We need a safe HV supply for high school students.
  2. Our electronics must allow us to select (trigger) muons and not random electronic noise.
  3. Muons can traverse several detectors without losing an appreciable fraction of their energy. Several detectors stacked on top of each other fire together when a single muon passes through them.
  4. Often, many muons are created in collisions of cosmic rays with the upper atmosphere. Multiple muons can fire several detectors if they are separated horiziontally from each other.
  5. The detector must be large enough so that we can capture enough decaying muons in a few hours to be able to have a viable lab in high schools.