Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cockcroft-Walton Voltage Multiplier

In addition to using a transformer to multiply a voltage, another useful technique is the voltage multiplier. This technique uses an arrangement of capacitors and diodes to multiply an ac voltage and rectify it.

The circuit was named after James Cockcroft and Ernest Walton, who developed it in 1932 at Brookhaven National Laboratories. They needed a high voltage for an accelerator they were building. They received the Nobel Prize in 1951 for their work.

Some people like to refer to this circuit as Greinacher multiplier, since it was developed by Heinrich Greinacher in 1919. So, the voltage multiplier may have been independently developed twice?

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