Cosmic Rays to Electricity
Name: Tyler W.
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
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
Click here to return to the Physics Archives
Update: June 2012