Westmont students will construct, test and calibrate 16 detectors for one layer of a new Large-area multi-Institutional Scintillator Array (LISA). Eight other institutions will build a layer for LISA, to be housed at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) at Michigan State University. This facility already hosts the Modular Neutron Array (MoNA), which Westmont helped develop. Students will take their completed detector modules to MSU this summer and assist in assembling the MoNA-LISA detector.
A $1.2 million National Science Foundation MRI grant funds this equipment, used in studying the properties of neutron-rich rare isotopes that don’t exist on Earth but participate in important astrophysical reactions within supernova explosions and on the crust of neutron stars.
Westmont students also developed, tested and calibrated the Westmont Cosmic Muon Detector Array (CMDA) with eight scintillation detectors, modeled after the MoNA array and used it to track the flux of cosmic muons over the Santa Barbara sky. But the Tea Fire left the equipment in ashes along with all Westmont-based physics research. Since then Professor Warren Rogers and his students have built a new CMDA array and will soon be taking data.
“I’m very excited about the future of our research program at MSU,” Rogers says. “In addition to Westmont undergraduates having opportunity to participate in experiments at the NSCL using MoNA-LISA, they will soon be able to work at the next generation accelerator for the U.S. currently under construction, the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), in which the MoNA-LISA array will be central to the study of neutron-rich exotic nuclei.”