The physics room at SpARC started off strong with two presentations on Cerenkov radiation. Cerenkov radiation is light that is emitted when a charged particle travels faster than the speed of light in the medium it is in. Cerenkov radiation is used to identify charged particles at CERN and is also used for imaging in pre-clinical drug testing (called Cerenkov Luminescence Imaging).
The first presentation was from Melissa Hutcheson on Simulating Cerenkov Production from Radioactive Decays. This semester she simulated how decay mode would affect the imaging. Her model was a sphere of water with a radioactive isotope at its center, and she simulated the number of photons per decay for several different isotopes. Her results can then be used to select an isotope to use experimentally in Cerenkov Luminescence Imaging.
The second presentation was from Kim Luong on Cerenkov Radiation Detection using CCDs. Kim’s talk focused on the cameras that would be used in Cerenkov Luminescence Imaging. Her work was on checking the sensitivity of the CCD camera. She built a circuit with a blue LED as the light source and attached a power meter, and then graphed photons collected vs. distance.
Both Kim and Melissa work in Dr. Nicole Ackerman’s research lab. This work was part of the Physics 400 class, and they will both continue their work next semester.