Teaching Astroparticle Physics with LAGO
A WCD is a low cost cosmic ray detector that can easily be built, and is therefore an excellent opportunity to initiate students to astroparticle and particle physics and detectors.
The LAGO electronics allows the adquisition of all pulses produced by a detector at a rate of up to 30 000 pulses per second. This allows us to register the PMT trace for all events happening in the detector.
The analysis of these events allow many different studies. One can observe the different signals produced by particles leaving all their energy in the WCD (electrons/positrons and gammas) and the ones going through the detector without stopping (muons), and use this difference to calibrate the WCD.
Once the detector is calibrated, one of the most interesting studies that can be done with students is the observation of muon decays. By looking at time difference between pulses, one can search pulses happening in a short time window and look for the characteristic 2.2 microsecond life time of the muon. A simple explanation of this decay can be read here.
Many other experiments are possible, and with 2 or 3 detectors one can also reproduce the original measurements of Pierre Auger in the 30's.