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Spark chamber.

Bubble chambers (see 1953) had turned out to be very useful, especially for the detection of ultra-short-lived particles. However, they cannot be triggered by desired events, but record everything. This means that myriads of tracks have to be searched through to find those of significance. Cloud chambers could be set for desired events only, but were insufficiently sensitive to show the newer particles. Something was needed that would be selective as cloud chambers and as sensitive as bubble chambers.

This need was met by the spark chamber, in which incoming particles ionized neon gas that was crossed by many metal plates. The ions then conducted an electric current that showed up as a visible line of sparks, marking the passage of the particles. The device could be adjusted to react only to those particles that were under study.

The first practical spark chamber was constructed in 1959 by two Japanese physicists, Saburo Fukui and Shotaro Miyamoto.

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Author:Asimov, Isaac
Publication:Asimov's Chronology of Science & Discovery, Updated ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1994
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