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A variation of the basic Cockroft-Walton (C-W) voltage multiplier circuit design may be used to generate multiple voltages at sufficient currents to drive the dynodes of a photomultiplier tube. In a battery-operated handheld device, the current draw on the batteries must be kept to a minimum. Several other parameters must be considered carefully during the design as well. Components must be chosen based on size restrictions, expected load current, expected output voltage range, and the maximum allowable ripple in the output voltage. A prototype surface mount C-W board was designed and tested to power two photomultipliers. The whole system, including the detectors, draws less than 15 mA of supply current with the outputs at 1000 Vdc.
Date of Publication: Jun 2002