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spark chamber

noun, Physics.
1.
a device for detecting elementary particles, consisting of a series of charged plates separated by a gas so that the passage of a charged particle causes sparking between adjacent plates.
Origin
1960-1965
1960-65
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for spark chamber

spark chamber

noun
1.
(physics) a device for detecting ionizing radiation, consisting of two oppositely charged metal plates in a chamber containing inert gas, so that a particle passing through the chamber ionizes the gas and causes a spark to jump between the electrodes
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Encyclopedia Article for spark chamber

radiation detector useful for the investigation of subatomic particles in high-energy particle physics. It consists of a series of thin metal plates parallel to each other, separated by small gaps, and enclosed in a container filled with neon or another inert gas. When a charged particle passes through the chamber, it ionizes the gas along its path. If, in turn, a very high voltage or potential drop is applied as a brief pulse across alternate plates, sparks will be produced along the ionized trails left by the particles. The paths of ionization remain in the chamber for about a millionth of a second, a sufficient time interval for a logic circuit to identify whether the particles that have emerged are of interest and consequently whether the high voltage pulse should be sent to the plates so that the resultant spark pattern can be recorded for later analysis. The pattern of sparks can be recorded photographically, electronically, or acoustically.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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