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ID number:  BIRRC-P0890
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  Historic Physics Collection
Artist / Maker:  Physics Department Workshop
Title / Object name:  Liquid Hydrogen Bubble Chamber
Object type:  Synchrotron item
Place made:  United Kingdom, Birmingham
Date made:  1959
Materials:  Stainless steel with glass windows
Measurements:  29 cm diameter, 40 cm overall high

This bubble chamber was built in the Physics Department at Birmingham for use with the proton synchrotron in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The 1GeV proton beam was fired into a volume of compressed liquid hydrogen, and the collisions of the protons in the beam with the nuclei of the liquid hydrogen (which are of course also protons) left tracks in the liquid that became visible as bubbles when the pressure was suddenly reduced.

The present object is just the 9-inch diameter chamber that contained the liquid hydrogen at a pressure of 5 to 6 atmospheres. It has thick glass windows top and bottom with the lower one being a convex lens, through which light was focussed upwards through the liquid. The bubbles scatter light and the tracks are photographed from above.

The chamber was lowered into a cryostat as shown in image P0890.1, and this was in turn was surrounded by a coil producing a pulsed magnetic field of 1.5 T. See image P0890.2

Built by Charles Barrow to designs of D.C.Colley, J.B.Kinson & L.Riddiford - Physics Department Workshop

D.C.Colley, J.B.Kinson & L.Riddiford, ‘9-inch liquid hydrogen bubble chamber in a pulsed magnetic field’, Nuclear Instruments and Methods 4, 26-29 (1959).

Notes:  Documentation and further photographs on file.

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