the Birth and Death of Stars
The high-quality Lightite® range of grow sheets are 100% lightproof and reflect both light and heat thermals to help growers achieve maximum yields in the growroom. The best horticultural film in the industry is now being used by scientists at CERN to build detectors of rare isotopes, due to its unrivalled reflection and highly opaque properties.
In an interview with the researcher conducting the experiments; he has told us why Lightite® Sheeting is the best solution for them and what they are trying to achieve.
Hi Miguel – Thanks for meeting with us! Firstly can you Explain what CERN is?
“The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, known as CERN is a European research organisation that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. Established in 1954, the organisation is based in a northwest suburb of Geneva on the France–Swiss border, and has 22 member states.”
CERN Lightite DetectorOur research is conducted at the ISOLDE facility, at CERN. In this experiment we produce rare isotopes, that is, atoms that have the same chemical properties as ordinary matter but different mass. This isotopes are important to understand the evolution of stars, as the only places they occur naturally are the core of stars.
One way to investigate the properties of these isotopes is to measure the radiation they emit. In this case we are interested that they radiate neutrons, neutral particles. In order to detect neutrons we use plastic materials that emit light when hit by radiation, think of glow-in-the-dark watch faces. The picture to the right was taken right after we connected a photo multiplier tube, the black device on the top we use to measure the amount of light produced.
So why are you using Lightite® Sheeting and what benefits does it provide?
Since the efficiency of this type of material to detect radiation depends on how much light we produce and collect, we must wrap our detectors in completely opaque materials that at the same time reflect back as much light as possible. We have found Lightite® is by far the best solution for that.
A few pictures of our array of these detectors at ISOLDE can be seen below, all wrapped in Lightite®. The rolls you provided will be used to build a new set of detectors to increment our detection capabilities. Increased detection efficiency is crucial for us to be be able to measure the more exotic and difficult-to-produce species. As so often happens in life, it turns out that the most interesting isotopes to measure are often the hardest to produce!
“What we do with this detector is neutron energy spectroscopy, we measure the energy of the neutron radiation to understand the properties of the emitter. These properties in turn allow to fine-tune the calculations other physicists use to model the birth and death of stars.”
A selection of images can be seen below including Miguel building the Lightite® wrapped detectors.