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Design, construction and in situ testing of a muon camera for Earth science and civil engineering applications

Abstract : This thesis is dedicated towards the creation of a new direction-sensitive tool for muon flux measurement based on a thin time projection chamber with a Micromegas readout, to achieve a compact detector with an angular resolution compatible with civil engineering and geophysics imagery and monitoring applications. The main motivation is to develop a detector capable to fill the technological gap for applications with compactness and transportability constraints. The dissertation provides a review of the different existing muon detection technologies and their diverse fields of application. Two muon imaging techniques are introduced: transmission and scattering muography. Transmission muography, more suitable for big targets, is based on the attenuation of the natural-occurring cosmic-muon flux due to the opacity of the material they traverse. This non-destructive, passive technique provides original information that can be used for imaging purposes. The work covers the methodology used towards the characterization of the incidental muon flux both on the surface and in underground conditions. A detailed description of the physical processes triggered by the passage of a muon through the detector is provided. Results of the simulations of the signal formation processes are presented and discussed to justify the design choices of the key components so as to meet performance requirements in term of temporal, spatial and angular resolution. The influence of operational or external parameters such as the gain, temperature or presence of contaminants is covered as well. The thesis describes in detail the principal phases of design and assembly of the MUST2 detector, including: (i) the design of the Micromegas readout layout, (ii) the choice of gas, (iii) the conception of an electric field homogenizer, (iv) the choice of the electronics instrumentation and its trigger signal, and (v) the creation of an auxiliary system to manage the gas. The versatility of MUST2 has been proved with the successful use of different trigger options and electronics. The data is acquired by means of software developed for the CERN’s Scalable Readout System electronics and subsequently analyzed with a muon trajectory reconstruction algorithm, which retrieves the: time of passage, 2D position, zenith and azimuth angles of the muons traversing the detector. The characteristics, performance and limitations of the data acquisition chain are presented and evaluated, a series of guidelines towards the improvement of its efficiency of are provided. A series of characterization tests has been carried out in different environments: controlled muon beam, open sky, at the bottom of a valley and in underground conditions. These tests have enabled a better understanding of the performance of the detector and allowed to tune up its operational parameters. Despite the weak statistics of the test runs, the measured muon flux has shown a good correlation with the surrounding target volumes. A campaign of measurements in real field conditions has been carried out at the Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt (Vaucluse, France) dam. The experimental results obtained are in consonance with the values anticipated by the digital model, the field transportability and the capability to perform long-term out-of-lab measurements have been demonstrated. On the downside, the impact of the external temperature on the data acquisition should be balanced out to get a steady acquisition and monitor the temporal evolution of the muon flux. In conclusion, the successful proof-of-concept trial allows to validate the MUST2 camera for transmission muography purposes.
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Submitted on : Monday, March 11, 2019 - 2:24:16 PM
Last modification on : Friday, March 13, 2020 - 9:12:03 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-01895975, version 2


Ignacio Lázaro Roche. Design, construction and in situ testing of a muon camera for Earth science and civil engineering applications. Instrumentation and Detectors [physics.ins-det]. Université Côte d'Azur, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018AZUR4074⟩. ⟨tel-01895975v2⟩



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