Sunday, November 6, 2011
Supercritical CO2 does not help visualize ionizing radiation
I tried to build a cloud chamber with supercritical CO2, thinking that ionizing radiation (alpha particles) would cause localized condensation of the CO2 at the point where the fluid is coming out of the supercritical state. It didn't work, unfortunately. I tested this idea with the americium-241 source from a smoke detector. I will continue experimenting with CO2 ionization chambers, and it might be possible to visualize the particles with superheated liquid CO2.
A helpful commenter pointed out that alpha particles will not travel very far in a fluid as dense as liquid CO2, so I will try again with a beta emitter.