Abstract

A critical study of photomultipliers leads to the following conclusions: (1) the dark current observed in tubes with alkali-antimonide cathodes at room temperature is primarily due to gas ions, not thermionic emission; (2) deviation from idealized (simple Poisson) pulse-height distributions is primarily due to secondary electron loss, particularly in Venetian blind multipliers; (3) pulse-counting provides better signal-to-noise ratio than any other simple detection scheme, and is not far from optimum detection in most cases. However, dc methods can approach pulse-counting quite closely if digital readout is used. A convenient method for determining optimum discriminator levels is presented, with examples.

© 1969 Optical Society of America

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