9 The Geiger Counter

Modern Physics

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PHY251 - Geiger counter PHY 251 Geiger Counter Introduction This experiment has two main objectives. First, we will become familiar with the characteristics of the Geiger-Müller (GM) tube, including the properties of threshold, starting and operating voltages, GM plateau region and plateau slope. Then we will use the GM tube to perform a simple statistical experiment for the purpose of studying some of the techniques of statistical analysis. Apparatus The basic GM circuit diagram is shown in Figure 1. The power supply and counter are one unit. The GM tube itself consists of a cylindrical outer shell which serves as a cathode and is grounded. In the center it has a coaxially mounted wire serving as anode. The cylinder is filled with an inert gas (typically Argon) at low pressure plus a small amount of ``quenching'' gas (e.g. ethyl alcohol). A DC power supply provides a voltage across the tube in the range of a few hundred to over a thousand Volts depending on the requirements of the particular tube. Caution: The front window of the tube is very thin and delicate and should not be touched.
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