Characteristics of Bubble Chambers

Phys. Rev. 97, 474 – Published 15 January 1955
Donald A. Glaser and David C. Rahm


The bubble chamber is a new radiation detector in which ionizing events produce tracks consisting of strings of tiny bubbles in a superheated liquid. By means of fast flash photography, practically distortionless bubble tracks can be recorded for the study of high-energy nuclear events. A chamber six inches long has been constructed and chambers several feet long seem feasible, so the bubble chamber can have both high stopping power and large size. Liquids containing only elements of low atomic number can be used to minimize Coulomb scattering so that accurate magnetic curvature measurements can be made. Tracks of minimum ionizing particles contain up to 100 bubbles per centimeter, and the bubble density varies with ionization density, thus making bubble counting a possible method for measuring ionization. The short sensitive and resetting times of bubble chambers tend to reduce background radiation problems and increase data collection rates for experiments with pulsed accelerators. Unfortunately the lifetime of the bubble nuclei seems to be too short to permit counter-controlled expansion after the passage of the particle to produce tracks. Therefore it is unlikely that the types of bubble chambers described here will be useful for cosmic-ray experiments.


  • Received 23 September 1954
  • Published in the issue dated January 1955

© 1955 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

Donald A. Glaser and David C. Rahm*

  • Randall Laboratory of Physics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

  • *U. S. Atomic Energy Commission Predoctoral Fellow 1951-1953.

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