Searching for ultra-high energy cosmic rays with smartphones

Daniel Whiteson, Michael Mulhearn, Chase Shimmin, Kyle Cranmer, Kyle Brodie, Dustin Burns

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We propose a novel approach for observing cosmic rays at ultra-high energy (>1018 eV) by repurposing the existing network of smartphones as a ground detector array. Extensive air showers generated by cosmic rays produce muons and high-energy photons, which can be detected by the CMOS sensors of smartphone cameras. The small size and low efficiency of each sensor is compensated by the large number of active phones. We show that if user adoption targets are met, such a network will have significant observing power at the highest energies.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    Number of pages9
    JournalAstroparticle Physics
    StatePublished - Jun 2016


    • Cosmic rays
    • Distributed computing
    • Smartphones

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics


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