Geiger Counters


This form of detection device is small, portable, and relatively inexpensive. It consists of a metal tube filled with argon or neon and kept at low pressure. Into the center of this tube a wire has been anchored with high voltage set up between the wire and the tube. When ionizing particles enter this tube, it ionizes the entrapped gas and causes an electrical pulse. By adding up the number of pulses, the intesity of radiation can be detected. This type of detector is good for high energy beta particle producers, but not gamma rays or alpha particles.


To what family of elements does argon and neon belong?

Why don't geiger counters accurately detect gamma and alpha?

Extra Credit! Why might some counters have chlorine mixed with neon in the metal tube? Hint...Think about how the ejected electrons might effect the counters accuracy..