How does a Geiger counter work?

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The tube is filled with a gas and has a magnetic field applied to it. The gas atoms are electrically neutral and so are unaffected by the magnetic field.

When ionising radiation enters the tube it hits one of the gas atoms and ionises it, meaning it changes the charge by knocking off an electron. This electron has a negative charge and so is pushed by the magnetic field into the detector, causing an electric current.