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Appl Opt. 2002 Aug 20;41(24):4975-87.

Suppression of afterpulsing in photomultipliers by gating the photocathode.

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  • 1U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Las Vegas, Nevada 89193, USA.


A number of gating schemes to minimize the long-term afterpulse signal in photomultipliers have been evaluated. Blocking the excitation pulse by gating the photocathode was found to reduce the gate-on afterpulse background by a factor of 230 over that for nongated operation. This afterpulse or signal-induced background (SIB), which is particularly troublesome in stratospheric lidar measurements, appears as a weak exponentially decaying signal extending into the millisecond region after the photomultiplier tube (PMT) is exposed to an intense submicrosecond optical pulse. Photocathode gating is not feasible in PMTs with semitransparent bialkali photocathodes because of their slow gate response time, but is easily implemented in PMTs with opaque bialkali or semitransparent multialkali (S-20) photocathodes that can be gated with nanosecond response. In those PMTs with semitransparent bialkali photocathodes, a gated (adjacent) focus grid (if available) also produces a significant reduction in the SIB.

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