A radiation detection and measuring instrument. It consists of a gas-filled tube containing electrodes, between which there is an electrical voltage, but no current, flowing. When ionizing radiation passes through the tube, a short, intense pulse of current passes from the negative electrode to the positive electrode and is measured or counted. The number of pulses per second measures the intensity of the radiation field. It was named for Hans Geiger and W. Mueller, who invented it in the 1920s. It is sometimes called simply a Geiger counter or a G-M counter and is the most commonly used portable radiation instrument. For related information, see Detecting Radiation.
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, March 09, 2021