LIMYRA - Muon Tomography
Tomography is an imaging technique to reveal the internal structure of objects using microwaves, x-rays, or particle beams. It is widely used in diverse fields such as medicine, biology, archaeology, geology, material science, manufacturing, and homeland security. Muon tomography, on the other hand, makes use of cosmic muons as the probing beam. Because muons, due to their weak interactions with matter, are able to penetrate massive objects, they are ideal for imaging the internal structures of large objects, such as Egyptian pyramids, volcanos, nuclear reactors, cargo containers, or similarly sizable and dense structures.
TTU's muon tomography project started in 2016 as an undergraduate research project. See a Symmetry article on our work. Since then, twelve students from the departments of Physics and Astronomy, Mathematics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science have worked on the design, construction, and operation of the first prototype detector. They brought expertise from their respective departments and completed the construction of our first prototype earlier this year. The team members:
- Aashish Gupta (Physics, BS 2018, now in a graduate program in medical physics)
- Hunter Cymes (ME, BS 2018, now in private industry)
- William Milestone (Physics, BS 2019, now in graduate program in EE at TTU)
- Jake Noltensmeyer (Physics, BS 2020, now in graduate program in physics at New Mexico)
- Raul Perez (Physics, BS 2020, now in graduate program in EE at TTU)
- Sadman Ahmed Shanto (Applied Physics and Math, BS 2021, now in graduate program in Quantum Computing at USC)
- Samuel Cano (Physics, BS 2021, now in graduate program in Space and Planetary Sciences at UArk)
- Cristobal Moreno (Physics, BS 2021)
- Mohammad Moosaje (Applied Physics, BS 2021)
- Victor Bradley (Physics, BS 2022)
- Madison Howard (Physics & Math, BS 2022)
- Clive Binu (Astrophysics, BS 2022)
- Gabriel Chiselenco (Physics, BS 2023)
The imaging test started in August 2019 and produced low resolution images of a 30-feet diameter water tank at the Reese Research Center. This prototype is limited to ~20 mradians spatial resolution. Our second prototype is in the designing stage.
Our next project consists of scanning Queen Maeve's cairn in Ireland. The tomb is suspected to consist of a chamber and a passage which are covered by a mound of rocks. The opening to this cairn has collapsed, making it difficult to determine the existence of this chamber using intrusive methods. Through the use of muon tomography we are able to determine the position and size of the chamber.
Currently we are working with Monte Carlo simulations to gain knowledge on the data we can expect to see in the upcoming project. An animation of such a scan is shown below, with the chamber becoming visible after multiple days of data collection. The passage was left out in this simulation for simplification.
Awards & Funding:
- First Place at 2021 Physics Departmental Poster Competition ($100) (Webb)
- Third Place at 2021 Physics Departmental Poster Competition ($50) (Binu)
- First Place at 2020 Physics Department Poster Competition ($100) (Cano)
- Second Place at 2020 Physics Department Poster Competition ($100) (Shanto)
- TRUE Undergraduate Research (UR) Travel Funding Award ($1000) 2019 (Moosajee)
- TRUE Undergraduate Research (UR) Travel Funding Award ($1000) 2019 (Shanto)
- APS Student Travel Award ($1000) 2019 (Shanto)
- 2019 Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium Travel Fund (airfare ticket and hotel stay paid for) (Perez)
- TRUE Undergraduate Research Project Funding Award ($1000) (Perez)
- First Place at 2019 Physics Department Poster Competition ($100) (Shanto)
- Third Place at 2019 Physics Department Poster Competition ($100) (Perez)
- Outstanding Undergraduate Student Poster Presentation Award at Texas Section of APS Conference 2019 ($50) (Shanto)
- Honorable Mention for Undergraduate Student Poster Presentation at Far West Section of APS Conference 2019 (Shanto)