šomârgar-e Geiger (#)
Fr.: compteur Geiger
A device for detecting ionizing radiations, whether corpuscular (α-, β-particles), or electromagnetic (X- and gamma-rays). It consists essentially of a fine wire anode (e.g., tungsten) surrounded by a coaxial cylindrical metal cathode, mounted in a glass envelope containing gas at low pressure. A large potential difference (800 to 2000 volts) is maintained between the anode and the cathode. The ionizing particle can enter through a thin glass or mica window. The particle produces ionization of gas molecules. The ions are accelerated by the electric field and produce more ions by collisions, causing the ionization current to build up rapidly. The current, however, decays quickly since the circuit has a small time constant. There is therefore a momentary potential surge which may be amplified and made to actuate a relay to advance a mechanical counter, or to produce a click in a loudspeaker. Same as Geiger-Mulle counter.
Named after Hans Geiger (1882-1945), the German physicist, who invented the instrument. He is also known for his work on atomic theory and cosmic rays; → counter.