author
20Instructables1,106,907Views423CommentsJoined October 25th, 2011
Science is my passion. I find myself constantly working on countless experiments, from low energy particle accelerators to good old simple electronics. I also like making model rockets, and playing cello.

Achievements

100+ Comments Earned a bronze medal
1M+ Views Earned a silver medal
Hack It! Contest
Contest Winner First Prize in the Hack It! Contest
Show 2 More »
  • Higgs Boson commented on Higgs Boson's instructable How to See Alpha Particles4 months ago
    How to See Alpha Particles

    Generally Be is a better choice than gold or aluminum since its neutrons are more loosely bound, but even still the (alpha, n) reaction has a pretty small crossection. You would need an alpha source on the order of millicuries to really make a good neutron source. The lab I work at now has a 10mCi AmBe source, but making a source like that yourself would require MANY smoke detectors. I've seen people pull this off on youtube with some of the older smoke detectors that had much larger Am sources or the static eliminators that have gigantic (0.5-5mCi or so) Po-210 sources, but that's probably the only feasible DIY approach. That said, neutron sources can be a bit more dangerous than other sources (they have a higher weighting factor when determining equivalent dose) and can activate other...

    see more »

    Generally Be is a better choice than gold or aluminum since its neutrons are more loosely bound, but even still the (alpha, n) reaction has a pretty small crossection. You would need an alpha source on the order of millicuries to really make a good neutron source. The lab I work at now has a 10mCi AmBe source, but making a source like that yourself would require MANY smoke detectors. I've seen people pull this off on youtube with some of the older smoke detectors that had much larger Am sources or the static eliminators that have gigantic (0.5-5mCi or so) Po-210 sources, but that's probably the only feasible DIY approach. That said, neutron sources can be a bit more dangerous than other sources (they have a higher weighting factor when determining equivalent dose) and can activate other non-radioactive elements. This would make for some fun experiments, but would require more care than most other check sources (not to mention the NRC would probably not be too happy to see someone making their own, unliscenced neutron source in their garage haha).

    View Instructable »
  • Higgs Boson commented on stoppi71's instructable Detecting Cosmic Muons in a Simple Can4 months ago
    Detecting Cosmic Muons in a Simple Can

    This is excellent! I ended up making a muon counter in my dorm between semesters last year, but it used coincidence counting with two plastic scintillators and some jank homemade/dumpster-dived electronics and NIM bins. This approach with the cherenkov detector is really interesting (and I'm sure inherently has very good gamma rejection). My count rate was much lower than yours (at most 25 counts/hr, which makes getting good statistics somewhat difficult), but mine also only detected muons within a 10 degree solid angle. Hopefully sometime soon I'll get around to making a write up for my detector, but I'll attach some photos if you're interested. Thus far I have only used it to measure the zenith angle dependence of the background muon flux, but I may have some more interesting experime...

    see more »

    This is excellent! I ended up making a muon counter in my dorm between semesters last year, but it used coincidence counting with two plastic scintillators and some jank homemade/dumpster-dived electronics and NIM bins. This approach with the cherenkov detector is really interesting (and I'm sure inherently has very good gamma rejection). My count rate was much lower than yours (at most 25 counts/hr, which makes getting good statistics somewhat difficult), but mine also only detected muons within a 10 degree solid angle. Hopefully sometime soon I'll get around to making a write up for my detector, but I'll attach some photos if you're interested. Thus far I have only used it to measure the zenith angle dependence of the background muon flux, but I may have some more interesting experiments in the works...

    View Instructable »
  • Higgs Boson commented on Higgs Boson's instructable 350kv Van De Graaff Generator10 months ago
    350kv Van De Graaff Generator

    That would probably work ok. I might be a bit worried about the belt tracking off to one side or getting bunched up in the middle. I found that a convex pulley shape (i.e. having a bulge in the middle rather than tapering toward the middle) worked much better.

    View Instructable »