bubble chamber

an apparatus for determining the movements of charged particles, consisting of a chamber containing a superheated transparent liquid that, by boiling and producing bubbles in the path of an ionizing particle, indicates the path of the particle. Cf. cloud chamber.
[1950-55]

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Subatomic-particle detector that uses a superheated liquid which boils into tiny bubbles of vapour along the tracks of the particles.

As charged particles move through the liquid, they knock electrons from the atoms of the liquid, creating ions. If the liquid is close to its boiling point, the first bubbles form around these ions. The observable tracks can be photographed and analyzed to measure the behaviour of the charged particles. Developed in 1952 by Donald Glaser, the bubble chamber proved very useful in the 1960s and '70s for the study of high-energy nuclear and particle physics.

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▪ radiation detector
      radiation detector that uses as the detecting medium a superheated liquid that boils into tiny bubbles of vapour around the ions produced along the tracks of subatomic particles. The bubble chamber was developed in 1952 by the American physicist Donald A. Glaser (Glaser, Donald A.).

      The device makes use of the way that a liquid's boiling point increases with pressure. It consists of a pressure-tight vessel containing liquid (often liquid hydrogen) that is maintained under high pressure but below its boiling point at that pressure. When the pressure on the liquid is suddenly reduced, the liquid becomes superheated; in other words, the liquid is above its normal boiling point at the reduced pressure. As charged particles travel through the liquid, tiny bubbles form along the particle tracks. By photographing the bubble trails it is possible to record the particle tracks, and the photographs can be analyzed to make precision measurements of the processes caused by the high-speed particles. Because of the relatively high density of the bubble-chamber liquid (as opposed to vapour-filled cloud chambers), collisions producing rare reactions are more frequent and are observable in fine detail. New collisions can be recorded every few seconds when the chamber is exposed to bursts of high-speed particles from particle accelerators. The bubble chamber proved very useful in the study of high-energy nuclear physics and subatomic particles, particularly during the 1960s.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Bubble chamber — A bubble chamber is a vessel filled with a superheated transparent liquid (most often liquid hydrogen) used to detect electrically charged particles moving through it. It was invented in 1952 by Donald A. Glaser, for which he was awarded the 1960 …   Wikipedia

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  • bubble chamber — noun Date: 1953 a chamber of superheated liquid in which the path of an ionizing particle is made visible by a string of vapor bubbles …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • bubble chamber — bub′ble cham ber n. phs cloud chamber • Etymology: 1950–55 …   From formal English to slang

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  • bubble chamber — noun Physics an apparatus in which the tracks of ionizing particles are visible as a row of bubbles in a liquid …   English new terms dictionary

  • bubble chamber — /ˈbʌbəl tʃeɪmbə/ (say bubuhl chaymbuh) noun an apparatus for determining the paths of charged particles by producing visible tracks of bubbles in their paths as they traverse a transparent medium …   Australian English dictionary

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  • Big European Bubble Chamber — The Big European Bubble Chamber (BEBC) was a piece of equipment used to study particle physics at CERN. BEBC was originally installed at CERN in the early 1970s. It was a stainless steel vessel filled with 35 cubic meters of liquid hydrogen.… …   Wikipedia

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