Download Full Text (220 KB)


A cloud chamber is a particle detector capable of detecting charged atomic particles, such as alpha and beta particles. These charged particles interact with a mixture of supersaturated isopropyl alcohol vapor and ionize it. The resulting ions act as condensation nuclei or cloud seeds, which form a cloud trail or mist in the wake of a particle. In the presence of a constant magnetic field, charged particles will bend according to the Lorentz force law. Depending on the curvature of the particles path, an experimental mass can be calculated. The constant magnetic field was achieved through a plexiglass board with like oriented neodymium button magnets. The supersaturated vapor was created through cooling isopropyl alcohol with dry ice. A radioactive lead-210 source was used to provide the alpha and beta particles measured.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project

Primary Advisor

Mohamed Ahoujja

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium poster


This poster reflects research conducted as part of course project designed to give students experience in the research process.

Research exercise: Measuring Alpha-particle Charge to Mass Ratio using a Cloud Chamber