Cosmic Rays for Environmental Sensing (CRES)


The Cosmic Watch Muon Detector v2 detects the cosmic rays, muons in particular, hitting a scintillator by using an Arduino Nano to read small voltages from a silicon photomultiplier (SiPM). The cost for the first cosmic ray detector for muons was about $250. The Radiation Detection Technologies and Applications Group at Oregon State University built a Muon Tomography System which was estimated to cost $25,000. With the Cosmic Rays for Environmental Sensing (CRES) project, our hope is to build systems with Arduino to be more portable and cheaper than commercial radiation detection systems. Phone battery chargers can power our systems for hours on end out in the field.

There are two main avenues of research of CRES. The project in North America has the aim of being modified into gamma ray detection to read the available amount of water in a patch of snow. This data may also be combined with other snow sensing data currently available to help analyze snow conditions more. In Europe, CRES has the aim of detecting neutrons to collect data on soil moisture.


  • Modify Cosmic Watch to detect gamma rays, and prevent other cosmic rays from interfering with gamma ray data.

  • Make use of scintillators to transform the Cosmic Watch to detect neutrons.

  • Work with the Radiation Detection Group at Oregon State to implement and to test our equipment against theirs to ensure ours is working accurately.



In process




Muon, Gamma Ray, Neutrons, Detection, Arduino Nano, Cosmic Watch v2, scintillators, Water Density Sensing.



  • [1] “ARDUINO NANO–CHINA,” Sri Lakshmi Electronics, 01-Aug-2018.