Muon Life Time Experiment

    Hadar Cohen, Instructor of the Muon Life Time experiment

  High Energy Laboratory   



The experiment is performed at Lab 3, Shenkar Physics building, Room 106.



  1. Introduction
  2. Topics of the experiment
  3. How to prepare for the experiment?
  4. The experimental schedule
  5. Literature
  6. Links



The muon is one of nature's fundamental "building blocks of matter" and acts in many ways as if it were an unstable heavy electron, for reasons no one fully understands. Discovered in 1937 by C.W. Anderson and S.H. Neddermeyer when they exposed a cloud chamber to cosmic rays, its finite lifetime was first demonstrated in 1941 by F.Rasetti. The instrument described in this manual permits you to measure the charge averaged mean muon lifetime in plastic scintillator, to measure the relative flux of muons as a function of height above sea-level and to demonstrate the time dilation effect of special relativity. The instrument also provides a source of genuinely random numbers that can be used for experimental tests of standard probability distributions.


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Topics of the experiment

  • Experiencing using a charged particle detector
  • Learning how to analyze the data using relativistic mechanics
  • UUnderstanding the methods for lifetime time measurements


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How to prepare for the experiment?

  1. Read the experiment's instructions.
  2. Answer the preparation questions (in the experiment's instructions). Read the literature needed to answer these questions
  3. Read the Experiment Article.
  4. Read the Article about statistics.
  5. Read the Open University Unit 11.
  6. Perkins: Introduction to high energy physics, chap 1-3)
  7. A. Das and T. Ferbel, Introduction to nuclear and particle physics, 2nd ed., World Scientific, River Edge N.J., 2003 (sections 6,7 and 9)
  8. A. C. Melissinos and J. Napolitano, “Experiments in Modern Phsyics”, Elsevier Science, 2nd Ed, (2003). (section 8, -8.4 is scintillators- and 9..4)



The experimental schedule

  1. Written exam - Approximately 1 hour
  2. Particles & detectors overview
  3. Experiment overview
  4. Calibration the appropriate values
  5. Analysis of muon decay inside the detectors
  6. Tel-Aviv University part of the ATLAS detector (muon gas chambers and more)




  1. Open University - Chapters in modern physics, Unit 11
  2. Perkins: Introduction to high energy physics, chap 1-3
  3. Kleinknecht: Detectors for particle radiation, p. 43-52, 65-73, 150-157, 169-173 .


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  1. How to write a report
  2. PDG
  3. Data Analysis Briefbook for Engineers and Scientists


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