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How does a Geiger counter work?

A Geiger counter detects ionizing radiation by measuring the electrical charge produced by ionization.

A Geiger counter is a device used to detect ionizing radiation. It works by detecting the electrical charge produced by ionization. When ionizing radiation passes through a gas-filled tube, it ionizes the gas atoms, creating positively charged ions and negatively charged electrons. The electrons are attracted to a positively charged electrode, while the ions are attracted to a negatively charged electrode. This creates a pulse of electrical current that can be detected by the Geiger counter.

The most common type of Geiger counter uses a tube filled with a low-pressure gas, such as helium, neon, or argon. The tube is usually made of metal and has a thin wire running down the center. When ionizing radiation passes through the tube, it ionizes the gas atoms, creating a pulse of electrical current that is detected by the wire. The pulse is then amplified and counted by the Geiger counter.

Geiger counters are commonly used in radiation protection, such as in nuclear power plants, hospitals, and laboratories. They are also used by hobbyists and enthusiasts to detect natural sources of radiation, such as radon gas and cosmic rays. However, it is important to note that Geiger counters have limitations and cannot detect all types of radiation, such as non-ionizing radiation.

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