Physicists have created a compact underground detector that uses cosmic radiation to create «x-ray» deposits of gold below the surface.
A team of scientists from Swinburne University of Technology conducted an experiment to detect dark matter. The presence of these particles is extremely difficult to detect, so they worked in a mine at a depth of 1 km, assuming that a thick layer of rock would absorb any cosmic radiation..
However, the created sensor based on sodium iodide detected muons (particles similar to electrons, but 200 times heavier), which were undesirable for research, but became a powerful source of information about the location of minerals in the bowels.
Because muons are scattered by high-numbered atoms, deposits of heavy metals such as gold create shadows that look like bones on a medical x-ray. Although this idea is not new, and a prototype of such a detector was created back in the 1960s, but since then the technology has advanced a lot and thanks to the miniaturization of electronics, the device of the Australians looks more like a rolled-up magazine..
The first version of the detector was a cylindrical piece of shiny plastic in a can of paint, and the scanner was natural radiation. Despite its rough appearance, it worked efficiently. Due to its compact size, the device is suitable for diving into wells for mineral exploration, the technology itself is cheap and can be connected via fiber optic.
The sensors can transfer data to the smartphone, so they can be installed and gone. After a few weeks, enough data accumulates to formation of a map of minerals in the surrounding rocks. However, first the information will need to be processed, as is done in astrophysics..
Scientists say that they are already interested in their invention, so they plan establish commercial production of such devices. So far, they are upgrading it to turn the existing prototype into a reliable tool for working in an active mine..
We also previously reported on the invention of the porous material., which is able to quickly recover residual gold from wastewater and difficult solutions.
Lesson 2 – How To Find Lode Gold Deposits – Technical Level: Basic
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: rggold