Exploring the Cosmic Ray Spectrum with the CREAM Experiment

Open Access
Author:
Anderson, Tyler
Graduate Program:
Physics
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
October 29, 2013
Committee Members:
  • Stephane Coutu, Dissertation Advisor
  • Stephane Coutu, Committee Chair
  • Miguel Mostafa, Committee Member
  • Tyce De Young, Committee Member
  • Jane Camilla Charlton, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • cosmic ray
  • particle astrophysics
  • ballooning
  • International Space Station
  • boronated scintillator
Abstract:
The Cosmic Ray Energetics and Mass (CREAM) project endeavors to resolve the cosmic-ray spectrum in an energy range between 10^{10} and 10^{15} eV for all particles with charges in the range Z = 1 (hydrogen) to Z = 26 (iron). From 2004 to 2011, the CREAM instrument was flown in a succession of long-duration balloon (LDB) missions over the Antarctic continent. To date, it has completed six successful campaigns, for a cumulative 161 days in flight. Starting in 2011, CREAM began a process of recon guration in order to prepare for ISSCREAM a three-year mission bound for the International Space Station in 2014. In addition, a subset of detectors from CREAM's balloon flights have been upgraded and reassembled for the Boron And Carbon Cosmic rays in the Upper Stratosphere (BACCUS) mission, which will mount a new LDB campaign during the 2013-2014 Antarctic summer season. The CREAM project is presented, with a special emphasis on the design, construction, and performance of CREAM's (and BACCUS') Timing Charge Detector (TCD) and ISS-CREAM's Boronated Scintillator Detector (BSD), two instruments originating from the CREAM group at the Pennsylvania State University. Several new endeavors will be described, including the results of the TCD's charge calibration using data from CREAM's fourth flight; a set of newly commissioned readout electronics for CREAM's BACCUS mission; and the results of a 2012 beam test of a prototype version of the ISS-CREAM BSD.