Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Scintillation counter

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A kitchen countertop consisting of a slab of naturally radioactive rock (such as granite) overlaid with a layer of a transparent scintillator material (e.g. zinc sulphide ) and then a layer of tempered glass.

In normal light, looks like a regular polished granite worktop.

In the dark, it shows the billions of tiny flashes of light from alpha particles.

That is all.

8th of 7, May 26 2019

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       And this is visible to the naked eye you say? Any videos of this effect in effect?   

       Put this on ceiling tiles that would sparkle at night if so.
doctorremulac3, May 26 2019

       Maybe, a type of conversation table adding entertainment to meals.
wjt, May 26 2019

       Why not. Tables are boring, and we lack transparency about radioactivity of materials. Can that scintilayer be on other stuff, so we are not blind to radiation?
Mindey, May 26 2019

8th of 7, May 26 2019

       Hmm. I think you'd struggle to see anything, even in a dark room. Back in the day, before scintillation counters, scientists would mix in a liquid scintillant and then go and sit in a completely lightless room with their sample for about half an hour, until they were dark-adapted enough to count the scintillae.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 26 2019

       An added, charged plasma layer?   

       When someone says something subtle, it is hard to know if it sparks or not. [8th of 7] Are you trying to move conversation into the kitchen?
wjt, May 27 2019

       This is a noble idea, but the flashes of light are extremely dim. You have about as much chance of seeing it as you have seeing triboluminescence by naked eye.   

       I would suggest fitting a refrigeration system with cooling pipes directly underneath the granite worktop. When a hot and/or alcoholic drink is placed on the surface, the condensing vapour will have the occasional streak of a charged particle passing through. Still a subtle effect to watch for, but one that can be seen with relative ease.   

       Excellent title by the way.
mitxela, May 27 2019

       Tabletop cloud chambers are Baked; there is (or there was) one at the Science Centre in Toronto.
8th of 7, May 27 2019

       you'll always find me in the kitchen at parties...
po, May 27 2019

       If the events are a little weak, perhaps a more energetic emitter could be selected?
bs0u0155, May 27 2019

       No, he died back in 2014. You can't have a H.R. Giger counter.
bs0u0155, May 27 2019

       Although, you could build a GM-tube counter. By unrolling the tube design and having the top surface as the anode made transparent, either a fine mesh or a super thin foil. Then you need a fluorescent coating and the original ionization event is amplified ~million fold or so. Maybe you could get some tune-ability by tweaking the voltage... hook it up to an audio feed?
bs0u0155, May 27 2019

       What you're describing is in effect an image intensifier/photomultiplier.   

       Plutonium isotopes are profligate alpha emitters.That would do nicely.
8th of 7, May 27 2019

       Sturton used to scintillate. Nowadays, he can only do it til about six thirty.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 27 2019

       if you could put it in some sort of partially-mirrored chamber, you might be able to get some light amplification by spontaneous emission of radiation
lurch, May 28 2019

       // top surface as the anode made transparent, either a fine mesh or a super thin foil //   

       Tempered glass coated with ITO? The only issue could be that the arc could blow holes in the coating. Maybe limiting the arc current with a resistor would solve that.
notexactly, May 28 2019

       Scintillate scintillate microscopic celestial body... [+]   

       A variation on the cloud chamber idea would be a bubble chamber filled with a fluid that is supercritical at room temperature.   

       Everyone's favourite supercritical fluid, carbon dioxide, apparently doesn't work as a bubble chamber fluid because it is a non-polar molecule. But there are a few polar molecules that form a supercritical fluid at slightly above room temperature. For example nitrous oxide (N2O) is a supercritical at 33°C at a pressure of 72.5 atmospheres.   

       A single large flat chamber covering the countertop would be impractical to keep at such high pressure. Instead an array of small flat glass chambers containing supercritical fluid could be practical. Each chamber would be illuminated from the side so the bubbles could be seen more easily.
xaviergisz, May 28 2019

       Does it double up as a sun-bed?
xenzag, May 28 2019


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