(7D30.50) Cosmic Ray Chamber
A cloud chamber consists of a sealed environment containing a supersaturated vapour of water or alcohol. An energetic charged particle (for example, an alpha or beta particle) interacts with the gaseous mixture by knocking electrons off gas molecules via electrostatic forces during collisions, resulting in a trail of ionized gas particles. The resulting ions act as condensation centers around which a mist-like trail of small droplets form if the gas mixture is at the point of condensation. These droplets are visible as a “cloud” track that persists for several seconds while the droplets fall through the vapor. These tracks have characteristic shapes. For example, an alpha particle track is thick and straight, while a beta particle track is wispy and shows more evidence of deflections by collisions.