This cosmic ray detector works by detecting muons which are a by-product of cosmic rays hitting our atmosphere. It detects these muons using Geiger Muller tubes - the very same type of detector used in a Geiger counter to measure radiation. However, this detector uses 18 Geiger Muller tubes that are arranged in an XY array of 9 tubes oriented on an X-axis and 9 tubes on a Y-axis.
Called a Hodoscope (from the Greek "hodos" for way or path, and "skopos:" an observer) it is a type of detector commonly used in particle physics that make use of an array of detectors to determine the trajectory of an energetic particle.
When a muon flies through the detector, it will trigger two tubes simultaneously. By graphing which of the two tubes are triggered on an array of 81 LEDs, it gives an indication that a muon was detected as well as where it struck.
The detector minimises background radiation using some shielding (brass plates) between the layers of tubes and also method of called coincidence detection. Muons travel through matter very easily passing through the brass plates and both axes of the detector without effort, whereas the terrestrial radiation will not. Consequently anything detected in both axes of the detector simultaneously is more likely to be a muon than local background radiation in, around and near the detector.
Figure 1. Basic overview operation of the 81 (9x9) Pixel hodoscope
Figure 2 Primary overall circuit using a simple LED Matrix for coincidence detection.
Figure 2. 9 Channel Geiger–Müller converter to 5V TTL
Note: The IC used in this desing a 74HC14 and not 74LS14. The 74HC14 is a high-speed Si-gate CMOS device Low-power Schottky TTL. It provides six inverting buffers with Schmitt-trigger action. It transforms slowly changing input signals into sharply defined, jitter-free output signals.
I made this PCB very generic so the design could be used in other projects like the 18 tube Drift Hodoscope.
Final PCB design of the 9 Channel Geiger–Müller Tube Detector to 5V TTL
Geiger-Müller Tube (GMT) SI-22G
I'm using those good old Russian tubes again for this project. These are quite large 220mm with a diameter of 19mm.
Working Voltage 360 - 440V
Initial Voltage 285 - 335V
Recommended Operating Voltage 400V
Plateau Length 100V
Plateau Slope 0.125% / 1V
Inherent counter background (cps) 1.16 Pulses/s
Cobalt-60 Pulse Gamma Sensitivity 540 pulse/mkR
Interelectrode Capacitance 10pF
Load Resistance 9 - 13 MOhms
Working Temperature Range -500 +700 ?
Bottom Layer (foam layer is to prevent tube damage and prevent slipage)
Assembled with shielding
The raw audio output from the Cosmic Ray (Muon) 81 (9x9) Pixel Hodoscope was a little hard on the ears so in an attempt to make this more pleasant, I modified the 9 x 9 matrix output by dividing into a 3 x 3 output using triple input NAND gates (74LS10) then monitoring coincidence between the resulting 3 x 3 matrix using AND gates (74LS08) to convert it to 9 channels, in order to drive a hacked MIDI Korg Nanokey 2 MIDI controller.
To do this, I modified the 9 x 9 matrix output by dividing into a 3 x 3 output using triple input NAND gates (74LS10) then monitoring coincidence between the resulting 3 x 3 matrix using AND gates (74LS08) to convert it to 9 channels in order to drive a MIDI keyboard.
Hacked MIDI Korg Nanokey 2 MIDI controller
My Cosmic Ray (Muon) Hodoscope now produces live generative graphics and music using an Arduino Mega and Ethernet Sheild over a network to a computer running software called Processing (PDE) and MaxMSP.
Many thanks go to Sacha Panic for his enthusiasm for cosmic
ray detection and talented imagination, time and skill in
coding and graphics to make this work on my detector.
I would also like to thank Luke Stark who has developed
some wonderful music using MAX/MSP.
Code & Graphics by Sacha Panic:
Music by Luke Stark