Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2019

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Jamie Nagle

Second Advisor

Dan Dessau

Third Advisor

Harrison Carpenter


This thesis consists of two independent parts. In the first section, an automated system for moving a radiation source for testing micromegas detectors was designed, assembled, and programmed. Micromegas amplify the signal from incident radiation through the ionization of the gas filling the detectors. They are reliable and maintain high accuracy under high incident particle flux conditions, but remain vulnerable to ion backflow, which reduces tracking accuracy. To characterize ion backflow, the current drawn by the detector's drift mesh can be measured. However, due to the current's picoamp scale it is very sensitive to noise and drift, which necessitates a time-consuming process of repeated, alternating measurements with a radiation source present and a control with none present. The work presented here automates the motion of the radiation source using code that is easily integrable into existing data-collection programs, in order to facilitate the measurement of ion backflow in micromegas.

In the second section, a particle transport model is used to examine flow coefficients of quark-gluon plasma. These coefficients describe the modes of flow of the medium produced in collisions of relativistic nuclei. Studies using AMPT, a particle transport model, have shown that lower-order flow coefficients can be produced due to differential particle escape from the medium. This project uses a simplified particle transport model to investigate whether the escape mechanism can contribute to the quadrangular (fourth-order) flow coefficient.

Included in

Nuclear Commons