Archives—October 2013

Hugo Ayala Research

HAWC Detector
Fig 1. HAWC detector. Brighter tanks are already constructed. Darker tanks show how the final detector will look.

Research with the HAWC Gamma-Ray Observatory

The High Altitude Water Cherenkov detector, or HAWC detector, is a high-energy gamma-ray observatory. It is currently under construction in Mexico at 4,100 m (13,450 feet) altitude. Gamma rays are part of the electromagnetic spectrum, like radio waves or x-rays. The main difference is that gamma rays are the most energetic photons that we know so far.

The HAWC detector is already measuring the secondary particles produced by the electromagnetic interactions of gamma rays with the particles that make up the atmosphere. The detection of the secondary particles with 300 water Cherenkov detectors, or WCDs, provides information about the direction of the primary gamma-ray photon and its energy.

I am doing my research with Dr. Petra Hüntemeyer. Part of my research is focused on the calibration system of the detector. I maintain the software to control a laser that is used to calibrate the timing and the charge of the WCDs. A view of the HAWC detector is shown in Figure 1.

The second part and main goal of my research is the study of the Galactic Diffuse Emission (GDE) at TeV energies. This emission is formed mostly of photons that were produced by the interaction of cosmic ray particles with gas and radiation fields in the Milky Way Galaxy. Since the gamma-ray photons are a product of the high-energy cosmic rays, studying the GDE will help us understand how cosmic rays propagate and distribute in the galaxy. Currently, I am analyzing data from the Fermi Space Telescope to study GDE in different regions of the sky, like the Cygnus arm of our galaxy. I am also doing simulations to understand how well HAWC will detect the GDE. Figure 2 shows the result of one of these simulations with statistical excesses of gamma rays along regions of the Galactic Plane.

by Hugo Ayala

Fig 2. Simulation of the GDE as seen by HAWC. White spots are regions where HAWC cannot see.

Bishnu Tiwari Research

Bishnu Tiwari
Bishnu Tiwari working on the Raman spectroscopy system for nanomaterials characterization in Prof. Yap's Spectroscopy Lab.

Bishnu Tiwari is a graduate student in the Engineering Physics program at Michigan Technological University. He has been working with Professor Yoke Khin Yap since the beginning of 2012. Professor Yap’s group is investigating the fundamentals of synthesis, characterization and applications (in electronics and the biological sector) of novel nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs), boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs), boron nitride nano sheets, graphene, and B-C-N nanostructures, as well as in developing the quantum dot nano devices. The fabrication of the nanomaterials is done by the techniques of pulsed laser vapor deposition (PLD), chemical vapor deposition (CVD), and so on. Raman spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), UV-visible measurement of the sample, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) are the techniques we utilize for characterization of materials.

Tiwari is also interested in the applications of nanomaterials in biological sectors. The group has recently started a project to test the toxicity of various kinds of nanomaterials in HeLa Cells, in collaboration with Dr. Caryn Heldt’s group in the Department of Chemical Engineering. The purpose of this experiment is to understand the nature of conflicting results regarding the toxicity of nanomaterials which are being considered as prospective materials for drug delivery.

Neutron and Raman spectroscopy studies of the quantum dynamics of hydrogen molecules in simple and binary clathrate-hydrates

Lorenzo UliviPhysics Colloquium
Michigan Technological University
Thursday, October 24, 2013
4:00 pm
Room 139 Fisher Hall
Neutron and Raman spectroscopy studies of the quantum dynamics of hydrogen molecules in simple and binary clathrate-hydrates
Dr. Lorenzo Ulivi
CNR – Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
Istituto dei Sistemi Complessi, Sez. Firenze
Sesto Fiorentino, ITALY

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