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Name: Tyler W.
Status: student
Age: 17
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 9/12/2004


Question:
To whom it may concern, My teacher and I have begun a project that will last for the duration of this school year. I have researched for almost four weeks now and still need some information. We are studying cosmic rays and even posses a simple scintillating detector built by Mr. Willis and a team at Texas Tech University. As you probably already know, scintillators produce a flash of light when a cosmic particle passes through it. This flash is then directed toward a photo-multiplier tube where it is magnified and recorded. We, however, plan to create a device that instead of producing flashes of light, emits an electron (or electrons) which can be captured and used to produce energy (and possibly electricity). We have searched for a material or substance that will do such a thing, but we are empty handed as of this point. Thus I am requesting any information you can give me that will lead us to this material. I am aware that certain security policies may prohibit you from granting a great deal of information, but it would be greatly appreciated. You may only be able to forward this someone who can aid us in our search, but please do so for this is a vital part of our project and this information is needed greatly. Thank you so much.


Replies:
A diode, which normally blocks electric current in one direction, will conduct momentarily in that direction after a cosmic ray has travelled through its depletion region. Many semiconductor radiation detectors are based on this fact (e.g., avalanche photodiode, germanium detector).

Also, a volume of non-conducting gas (e.g., argon) with a high voltage across it will conduct momentarily after a cosmic ray passes through, and this fact is the basis of ionization chambers and multi-wire proportional counters.

Tim Mooney



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