What will happen when X-rays are passed through a non-evacuated GLE? My teacher said that “The leaves would collapse due to ionization of air”. What does this mean?
X-rays 'knock' one or more electrons from some of the air molecules, so the air is now partly ionised: there are positively charged ions and electrons (which may attach themselves to neutral molecules to make negative ions). The electrons (or negatively charged ions) are attracted to the leaf-and-plate assembly (if this had been positively charged) and surrender their excess electron(s), so gradually discharging the leaf and plate. The positive ions are attracted to the metal parts of the case of the electroscope, for these will have been charged negatively.