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A BEAM LINE FOR SCHOOL

We are a group of seven students from Thder secondary school in Orihuela (Alicante, Spain) who have decided to carry out this project so that we might get to visit CERNs facilities and have the opportunity to work with the greatest experts in Physics.

Our group, which is led by our teacher Jess Carnicer, likes to think we have a great scientific spirit and we are so excited at the chance that CERN is giving us to achieve our dream. It is not only the possibility of going to these facilities, but also of knowing that we could realise something that many teenagers dream of. Every day we are resigned to looking at how the biggest problems in science have been solved, but for the first time we could be able to contemplate them first hand and participate in their resolution. We are being given the chance to make Science, and we do not intend to waste it without a fight.

Travelling to Geneva and being able to use the particle accelerator would be an unforgettable experience for us, with which we could show our abilities as promising young scientists and furthermore, acquire knowledge that we will be able to use in our future as scientists.

PROPOSED PROBLEM:
In what way will the behaviour of alpha particles or protons colliding against either a thin plate of gold or gold nanoparticles differ depending on the speed of these particles? Firstly, we propose to reproduce the experiment performed by Rutherford in 1909, in which he collided alpha particles against thin plates of gold, repeating it at the accelerator, if possible with alpha particles or otherwise

replacing them with protons. Secondly, we want to extend this experiment using a new material as a target that was not available for Rutherford, gold nanoparticles. Finally, we also are interested to know what will happen to the beam of particles (alpha or protons) when it collides with gold and with gold nanoparticles.

HYPOTHESIS:
When the protons collide with the target (Au) with a small amount of energy, about the order of 6 MeV (approximately that which Rutherford used), the results will be different for the sheet of gold compared to the nanoparticles. Because the orbital of the nanoparticles of gold is slightly different from that for the particles of the plate, the impact parameter will be different and, consequently, the angle of dispersion. In any case, we expect greater angles of dispersion for alpha particles than for protons. In contrast, when we use high energy alpha particles and protons, nuclear reactions will take place in the nucleus of the target producing the same number and types of particles.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:
Technical requirements of the accelerator: 1. Sinctillator Counter (Scint) This detector is the fundamental piece of equipment for our project. With it, we intend to measure the tiny angles at which the particles scatter. 2. Delay Wire Chamber (DWC) - Used to check whether the trajectory of the particles is rectilinear after crossing the gold sheet (reproducing Rutherford's experiment). 3. Cherenkov Counter To determine what kind of particles we get after bombarding the gold (only in the two experiments that use high energies. 4. Halo Counter The objective of this detector is to measure the larger angles at which some particles will be deviated and the number of particles with a high level of deviation (reproducing Rutherford's

experiment). 5. Absorbers For two of the four proposed experiments (those that use a small amount of energy), we intend to use this material to reduce the energy of the beam even more. We would like to place the Absorber in front of the gold plate as long as it won't interfere with our main objective. 6. MNP17 As we know both the initial momentum that we give the beam and the momentum of the particles produced after the collision (thanks to this detector), we can determine the interaction between the beam and the gold plate.

Synthesis of the Gold Nanoparticles:


Our team, Los Salvadores del gato de Schrdinger (The Saviours of Schrdinger's Cat), is supported by the Institute of Molecular Science at Valencia University, Spain, with the researcher from this institute, Gonzalo Abelln, who from September will work as a Marie Curie Fellow with Prof. Dr. Andreas Hirsch in Erlangen-Nuremberg Institut fr Organische Chemie II, who has taught us how to synthesise gold nanoparticles by a seed growth strategy kinetically controlled by reduction of tetrachloroauric acid (HAuCl4 using the method developed by the group of Victor Puntes Landmuir, 2011, 27 (17) pp 11098-11105. By this method we obtain aqueous dispersions of colloidal gold nanoparticles of controlled size, monodisperse and quasi-spherical.

Experimental procedure:
We begin with a sodium citrate solution in distilled water which it is heated up while being shaken vigorously. When the mixture starts to boil, we add the HAuCl4. The resulting particles (ca. 10 nm, ca. 3.1012 Nps/mL) are coated with negatively charged citrate ions, so they remain well suspended in H2O.

In a second step, we can increase the size of the nanoparticles in a controlled way, avoiding the formation of new growth seeds: Immediately after synthesising the
Electronic microscopy image showing quasi spherical Au nanoparticles

NPs of Au and in the same flask, the reaction cools down and we sequentially inject the sodium citrate and the HAuCl4. In the end, we obtain the NPs, the size of

obtained. The scale bar represents 50nm

which can be modulated by repeating this last addition up to 14 times, getting a range of sizes from approximately 20nm to 180nm. If the water of the solution is evaporated, we can obtain a dust of gold nanoparticles. Therefore, we can have for the experiment a suspension of nanoparticles either in water or in dust.

Histogram showing the size distribution of the Au nanoparticles. The analysis of more than 400NPs yields an average size of 16.3 (2.1) nm.gg

UV-vis Absorption spectrum of Au.

Having completed our experiment, it is worth mentioning that working in such a large team supposed an added difficulty, but something that was solved easily if we take into account the fun that we have found in every little detail, from when we chose the groups name to making the video that accompanies this project; spending untold hours in the laboratory was also made enjoyable by performing experiments that are normally forbidden, playing with helium

balloons and computer games behind the teacher's back.

It is obvious that the work and effort that we have put into this project is no small thing. Nevertheless, whatever the final result may be, we already consider the mere fact of having worked together as a team, in addition to what we have learned about nanoscience and how particle accelerators work (which was more difficult than we expected), to be a personal and collective triumph that we are and will be proud of in the future.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Tipler P. A. y Mosca G., 1997, Physics for scientists and engineers. Puentes, V. 2011. Landmuir, 2011, 27 (17) pp 11098-11105. web: i-cpan.es

Authors: Los Salvadores del Gato de Schrdinger (IES Thder Alicante - Spain)

Students:
Abel Lidn Gloria Llor Mara Marco Cristina Moreno Cristian Prez Paula Riquelme Guillermo Rocamora

Teachers:
Roco Espinosa Jess Carnicer

Special Thanks:
Gonzalo Abelln: investigator who taught us how to synthesize gold nanoparticles Alex Watkins: Video Narrator