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Introduction A typical G.M. tube consists essentially of a cylindrical cathode in the form of a graphite coating on the inner wall of a glass envelope and an anode in the form of fine tungsten wire which stretches within and along the axis of the tube. Usually it is filled with a mixture of an inert gas (argon or neon) at a partial pressure of about 100 torr and a quenching gas (halogens or organic vapours) at about 10 torr. To allow 1onis1ng particles to enter the tube, a window covered with a thin sheet of mica is provided at one end of a tube. In operation, a sufficiently large potential difference i.e. applied across the anode and cathode of the tube so that a high radial electric field near the central wire is obtained. Under this condition, electrons produced by ionizing collisions between a high-speed particle entering the tube and the inert gas atoms are accelerated towards the anode wire by the strong electric field and acquire within a very short distance a high speed of their own. Because of this speed, they too can ionize other atoms and free more electrons. This multiplication of charges repeats itself in rapid succession producing within a very short interval of time an avalanche of electrons. The electron avalanche is concentrated near the central wire while the positive ions, being much heavier, drift slowly toward the cathode. For a G.M. tube with a cathode of radius 1cm, the time of flight of the positive ions is roughly about 100 microseconds, which is about 100 times longer than the time necessary to build up the electron avalanche. The consequence of this is that after the initiation of an electron avalanche by an entering particle the slowly moving positive ion sheath around the anode wire increases the effective radius of the anodes. The electric field round the wire therefore drops to a value below that which is capable of supporting ionization by collision. The electron avalanche ceases and a pulse of current due to this avalanche is subsequently produced.
is to produce can only a single pulse if for each particle entering the This be achieved spurious pulses due to secondary electrons released from the cathode surface by the bombardment of ions are completely suppressed so that the tube can recover as quickly as possible to be in a state when it is able to record the next entering particle. counter circuit is as shown in the following block diagram: where R. electrons from cathode surface to become neutral molecules. electronic scaling 2 . A quenching gas (it must be both polyatomic and of low ionization potential) introduced into the tube is to serve this purpose. Any excess energy that the neutral molecules have will cause them to dissociate into individual atoms rather than be imparted to the cathode to produce fresh electrons that would take part in further ionizing collisions. is connected in series with the stabilized H. The usual G. The and on molecular ions thus capture produced move slowly the to the cathode reaching there. supply and the tube. The output pulse is then fed via a capacitor C to a pulse amplifier. The idea is to allow the inert gas ions on their way to the cathode to collide with the heavy molecules thereby transfer their charges to the molecules and become neutralized .T. The current pulse initiated in the tube by an entering particle which is followed produces by an a voltage pulse across unit this for resistor.M.The object of the counter tube. a register of several MΩ.a process known as quenching.
no counts will be registered. Organic quenched tubes usually have a flatter plateau than halogen quenched tubes. tube connected to the decade counter is of type Mullard MX168. Typically. and may be between 300V and 900V. M. mechanical registers are also used. Sometimes. The register is usually composed of decade counting tubes. the threshold voltage. In this experiment a counter. the counting rate of a G. described above in one single unit is provided. This minimum voltage is a function of the gas pressure and the anode diameter. As the voltage is increased. in additional to decade counting tubes. counter depends on the applied voltage. as the quenching gas may be exhausted in this way. which incorporates all the decade necessary components. For still higher applied voltages the tube may go into continuous discharge. The change in counting rate over a 100V range of applied voltage may be as little as 5V. It is particularly important that an organic-quenched tube not be permitted to go into continuous discharge. Students are advised to do additional reading and answer the following questions: (i) Would the counter perform its normal duty if the polarities of the central wire and the inner wall of the tube were interchanged? (ii) Is there any advantage of using halogens rather than organic vapours as quenching gases? Explain. The G.recording the number of pulses. It has a mica window and uses halogens as quenching gas. called the plateau range. more and more counts are registered. Below a minimum voltage.M. Over a range of voltages. 3 . the counting rate is relatively insensitive to applied voltage.
M. Tube Characteristics Using handling forceps.M. the voltage at the middle of the plateau). is called the resolution time.e. (c) The Resolution Time of a G. Plot a graph of count rate per minute against the applied voltage. the Geiger threshold voltage and the operating voltage (i. Note: The background count rate per minute should be subtracted from all counts in subsequent experiments in order to obtain the true count rates due to radioactive sources alone. Increase the applied voltage from 320V in steps of 10V up to 450V. a sheath of positive ions that gradually increases in radius remains about the anode wire.Experiment (a) G. This effectively decreases the potential gradient near the wire and not until this space charge has drifted sufficiently far from the anode will the counter become sensitive again. Indicate on your graph the plateau. note down the number of counts over a period of 2 minutes.M. tube. 4 . tube. The total time taken for the tube to recover to its fully sensitive state to give the next pulse. place the radium source on the lowest shelf of the lead castle directly below the window of the G. (b) Background Count Remove all radioactive sources from the vicinity of the G. At each setting.M. Switch on the counter and allow it to warm up for a couple of minutes. Counter After a pulse is registered. Set the counter voltage at the operating voltage and take a 5-minute background count.
the second source and the combination of the two sources respectively. we obtain after manipulating: (7) ns = n 1 + n 2 − 2n 1 n 2 t 1 − n 1n 2 t 2 5 . it means that for each single count registered. n s are the counts registered per minute for the first source. the lost time in one sec is nt and the effective operating time is n (1 − nt ) (1 − nt ) sec. we have ns = (6) Substituting (5) into ( 6) . The tube is inoperative for t sec. if we (1) assume that the corrected count rate is N counts per sec. Following from this. Then N= The resolution time can be found readily using the "two-source" method.For a tube having a resolution time t. n 2 . If n1 . Thus if we have n record sounds registered per sec.. This is carried out experimentally by counting the two sources one at a time and then both together. we can write: N1 = N2 = and n1 (1 − n 1 t ) n2 (1 − n 2 t ) ns (1 − n s t ) ( 2) (3) ( 4) Ns = Since N s = N 1 + N 2 which follows Ns = From n1 n2 + (1 − n 1 t ) (1 − n 2 t ) Ns (1 + N s t ) (5 ) ( 4 ) .
(d) Verification of Inverse Square Law Remove the G. Using forceps. Then add another radium source symmetrically to the right of center on the same shaft and finally remove the first source without disturbing the second source. Starting with a separation d between the window and the source equal to 10cm and thereafter increase d successively by 10cm until it reaches 70cm. give a plot of the inverse- 6 . and hence plot the corrected count rate against verify the inverse square law. Correct all the observed counts for background and calculate the resolution time of the counter.Normally n 1n 2 t 〈 1 2 . On the same graph paper. a place a radium source ( 5µC ) on another stand and align it until its active face faces the tube window and lies along the axis of the tube.M. place a radium source left of center on the bottom shelf of the lead castle. we can approximate 〈 ( 7 ) to n s = n1 + n 2 − 2n1 n 2 t which yields t= n1 + n 2 − n s 2n 1 n 2 (8) Using forceps. tube from the lead castle and attach it horizontally to a stand provided. Correct the observed counts for background and resolution time using equation (1). At each of these stages make a two-minute count. note down the number of counts per minute at each setting. Repeat 226 1 d2 to the above experiment with 60 Co − source in place of the Ra − source .
in any given case. take a series of one-minute counts as a succession of aluminum sheets is placed vertically in the region between the G. Without disturbing the setup. counter.square law for the 60 Co − source and hence from the gradients of the two 60 linear plots deduce the strength of Co − source . The relative importance of each of these processes. hence N = N o e −µ Place the 60 Co − source at a distance of about 20cm from the window of the G. I is the initial intensity of the γ − rays . then after transversing a layer of matter of thickness . tube. tube and the source using the data obtained. plot a suitable graph and hence deduce the μ and HVL for 60 Co − source . is a function of the initial energy of the γ -photons and the atomic weight of the absorbing material. (e) Attenuation of γ − ray by Matter The attenuation of a beam of γ − rays passing through matter depends on photoelectric absorption.M. Experimentally it has been found that the attenuation follows closely the exponential law i.M.e. 7 . Compton scattering and pail production. I is proportional to N (the counting rate corrected for background and resolution time). Take a one-minute count to determine the initial count rate. Note that in experiments using a G. its intensity I is reduced to µ I = Ioe− where µ is known as the linear absorption coefficient of the matter.M. The value of when the initial intensity is reduced to half is called the half value layer (HVL).
8 . Part 1.E. Burcham. (2) W. Second Edition. Nuclear Physics An Introduction.References (1) J.B. Chapter 6.A. Chapter 1. England. Techniques in Nuclear Structure Physics.
Source must be put back into proper storage box after use. Do not face radioactive source towards yourself or anybody.Appendix A Proper Handling of Radioactive Source Source in the proper storage box. Source to be handled by spincer only and and face downwards or away from people Source Face Use pincer to remove source from storage box Picture of radioactive source. 9 .
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