HiSPARC: A Scintillating Experiment

Kasper van Dam

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research external, graduation UT

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The High School Project on Astrophysics Research with Cosmics (HiSPARC) is a widespread, irregular Extensive Air Shower (EAS) detector array. It is a collaboration of universities, scientific institutes and high schools each hosting their own detection station(s). The majority of the stations is located at high schools. The network consists of approximately 140 detection stations distributed throughout the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Denmark, and Namibia. A HiSPARC station consists of two or four detectors which are placed inside roof boxes mounted on the rooftop of a building. A HiSPARC detector consists of a scintillator glued to a light-guide which is connected to a photomultiplier tube. The primary goal of HiSPARC is to engage high school students with modern physics and let them contribute to real scientific research. The scientific goal of HiSPARC is to investigate the use of small EAS detection stations for cosmic ray research. In this thesis the research possibilities of the HiSPARC detector and station are extensively reviewed. A new method has been presented with which it is possible to probe the cosmic ray energy spectrum with a single HiSPARC station. If multiple independently operating stations sample the same EAS, their data can be combined for more detailed analyses. Unexpected, transient fluctuations in the detection rates of all detectors in a station were found in many, often distant, stations. These could be linked to precipitation from passing weather fronts. Finally, HiSPARC detectors have been used to investigate whether cosmic ray muon tomography can be used to monitor the insides of a blast furnace.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • van Eijk, B., Supervisor
  • Steijger, J. J.M., Co-Supervisor, External person
Award date1 Oct 2021
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-5227-1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


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