8. The Voltage Multiplier

To solve the problem of the lack of evidence of a nuclear disintegration he came up with a 'voltage-multiplying' circuit that used capacitors (also known as condensers) to produce a high voltage direct current from a much lower voltage alternating current. He and Walton erected a column of five rectifier diodes and capacitors to produce a DC voltage four times greater than the transformer AC voltage.

Fortunately, in May 1931 the room that Cockcroft and Walton were using had to be vacated, so they moved to the old Balfour Library which had a much higher ceiling. With the help of a £600 grant they could build a generator capable of around 500-700 kV, which they hoped to be enough to produce the disintegrations that they had missed at 300 kV. When the apparatus was completed they continued looking for gamma rays.

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