MiniPIX EDU: The first affordable pixel detector. All the boring physics turns into wonderful exploration!

Hawkeye Spectral Imaging supplies the ADVACAM technology developed by CERN and used in space by NASA affordable for students! It brings modern nuclear technology of radiation imaging detectors to the classrooms and lets students discover the invisible world of ionizing radiation surrounding us. Laws of physics are directly observed without memorizing formulas from textbooks.

The new simplified and price-effective version of the very popular MiniPIX particle imaging detector device is available now! It was greatly simplified to make it affordable for schools reducing the price by more than 50% !!!

The traditional MiniPIX device is based on a Timepix chip. It exists in three quality versions now: Standard, Gold, and EDU. The Standard MiniPIX device is used e.g. by NASA in space. Its quality is, therefore, far beyond the needs of teachers or students.

Perform experiments of particle physics just on your table!

It is enough to plug the MiniPIX EDU device into the USB port of your PC and start the software. The fascinating images of ionizing particles will start to appear in front of you. You will quickly realize that ionizing radiation surrounds you everywhere. It does not occur only in nuclear power plants or during explosions of nuclear bombs as many people think. It is present in the air you breathe, the water you drink, and in your own body. It is coming from our life-giving sun as well as from deep space.

You will see that different types of radiation make different and often mysterious patterns on your screen:

Large roundish blobs by alpha particles, long strikes by cosmic muons, curving worms of electrons, or small dots by gamma or X-rays.

How to use such technology for education?

The miniature particle tracking and imaging detectors of ADVACAM such as #MiniPIX can record very small levels of radioactivity which is present everywhere. Students can see radioactivity of common materials and objects such as pieces of granite, ash, or paper bag from a vacuum cleaner or face mask. They can explore the variation of the air radioactivity during the day, hunt for cosmic muons and check their directions, see how altitude affects the presence of radiation types. They can try to prepare their own (safe) radioactive source and try to construct the shielding against radiation it emits. They can check the laws of radioactive decay. Students can directly observe how different radiation types interact with matter and what happens then. They can try to change one radiation type to another.

From time to time even rare and exotic events are observed: Delta electrons, recoiled nuclei, a cascade of two or more nuclear transitions, proton tracks …

Students will explore the origin of different types of radiation and see how radioactive isotopes migrate in nature and the artificial environment of human houses, cities, industries.

They can understand how people benefit from ionizing radiation and radioactivity: Methods of medical imaging, nondestructive testing in the industry, methods of nuclear medicine for cancer treatment, safety application, nuclear power …

Check project CERN@school at CERN or IRIS website and examples of experiments for secondary schools here.

Detector performance not affected

The mechanical design of the EDU version was simplified: silicon sensor only, no fancy sliding stainless still cover, simple surface treatment, less strict criteria for sensor quality acceptance (assuming students are not so strict as NASA). The manufacturing process was simplified and shortened. All these optimizations allowed a reduction of price by more than 50% !!!

The functionality is almost identical to the original MiniPIX detector. The detector is delivered with full PiXet Pro software including Python scripting and examples. The license for this device is limited.

Previous experience: CERN technology in schools

The device is partially based on the experiences and findings of earlier projects, based on the older technology, and carried out by Mrs. Becky Parker in the UK with the support of Medipix collaboration. About 450 schools with more than 15.000 students participated since 2007. The Institute of Experimental and Applied Physics (IEAP) of Czech Technical University in Prague has also been involved in similar initiatives. Both projects were done in close collaboration with the CERN Medipix group and equipment manufacturing companies. The older MX-10 device developed by a collaboration of IEAP and Jablotron was used for these activities.

The new device #MiniPIX_EDU is based on the same #Timepix chip as MX-10 but it is much smaller, more stable, and less expensive. Compared to MX-10 we don’t supply the other accessories.

A very nice textbook with various experiments for secondary school students was written by Vladimir Vicha with help of the detector team in IEAP.

Where to get it?

Visit the Hawkeye Spectral Imaging web page and fill your request into the simple form there.

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