A Geiger Mueller detector, or Geiger counter, is a tool that discovers the levels of radioactivity in a space. It is able to pick up on alpha, gamma and beta types of radiation, as well as X-rays. The Geiger Mueller part designates the tube found within a Geiger counter, also known as a GM tube, which is the piece that enables the meter to detect radioactivity.
The Men Behind This Tool
This instrument goes by an unusual name, and that’s because it is named after the two men who created it. You might see this detector spelled in different ways, such as a gieger or giger counter, but the correct names behind it are Geiger and Mueller. Hans Geiger and Walther Mueller created this tube back in 1928, and it is for the most part the same today as it was then.
The Mueller part is left off of the term “Geiger counter,” which is maybe simply a shortened and easier version of “Geiger Mueller detector,” or perhaps the shortened version came about because it is Geiger who originally created the principle of the GM tube in 1908. Mueller later helped him further this discovery and turn it into the tube design.
How Does the Geiger Mueller Tube Work?
The GM tube has neon, helium or another type of gas within it that becomes ionized if radiation goes through it. The reaction of this meeting causes the tube to click, alerting the user to the presence of radiation. You can tell how much radiation is present by how many times the instrument clicks.
If you’re interested in the process, the ions created by the radiation of the gas and resulting electrons both attract to electrodes in the middle of the gas. This makes an electric current that pulses, creating clicks in the meter.
Types of Geiger Mueller Detectors
While the main process is the same with each, there are three different types of these counters. You could have a cylindrical design, which is known as a side window. This type is limited, as it is best at checking gamma levels, although it can also measure some beta levels.
Another type also has a cylindrical design and is known as an end window. This type responds best to gamma levels, but also detects alpha and beta levels. Finally, you have the pancake design, which is like a flattened cylinder. This one responds best to beta levels, but it can also pick up gamma and alpha levels.
No matter what kind of gaiger counter you get, you can check the radiation levels in your home for safety or just for fun.