Video: Knowing Key Terms in Nuclear Physics

What is the name of the instrument that can be used to measure the level of radiation in an area?

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Video Transcript

What is the name of the instrument that can be used to measure the level of radiation in an area?

Well the instrument that we use to measure specifically ionizing radiation — that’s 𝛼 particles, 𝛽 particles, and 𝛾-rays — is known as a Geiger counter. It’s a very useful instrument that will register either a click or a count on a display screen when it detects either 𝛼 particles, 𝛽 particles, or 𝛾-rays.

This is because the types of radiation we’ve just mentioned are ionizing forms of radiation. What they do when they enter the tube of the Geiger counter is to cause an ionization. Now the Geiger counter tube usually has an inert gas such as neon, for example, inside it.

When it gets ionized by the ionizing radiation, this information gets picked up by the Geiger counter. And therefore it registers a count on the Geiger counter. Hence a Geiger counter can detect individual 𝛼 particles, 𝛽 particles, or 𝛾-rays.

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