Recently, I've bought a tiny USB powered spark gap bipolar Tesla coil (rated at 15 mA and (35-50)kV). I am a pretty interested in spectroscopy, so I played around with the tesla coil and a couple of Neon bulbs (among others) from which I could get a pretty decent Ne spectrum.
The other day , I was wondering if I could build myself a partially evacuated Argon tube which could be powered by the tesla coil.And so I went to the lab to pick a "gas collector tube", I purged it with pure Ar several times, then I connected it to the vacuum pump and I sealed it.
Surprisingly, it worked! (see photo below).
Then I wondered if it might be producing some low energy X rays (I really doubt it but I decided to test it with an old Ludlum Geiger counter)and indeed the Geiger counter showed quite a high reading.
So my question is: was it really producing x rays as a consequence of the electron impact towards one of the electrodes? or was it simply the static interference of the tesla coil with the Geiger counter?
Honestly, I really doubt that it was really producing x rays, due to the following points:
The vacuum pump used is not a high efficient rotary vacuum pump , so the final pressure is far from an ideal vacuum.
The plasma is very faint (the picture is a 5 second exposure shot)
The Geiger counter shows the similar response whenever it is close to the tesla coil (even if the vacuum tube is not connected)
The signal response is very drastic, that is, the Geiger counter only shows a significant reading when it's just a few cm form the tesla coil, if not there is no signal at all.
What do you think?