History of the High-Voltage Charge Pump
The quest for generating a high voltage supply from an available lower voltage supply has existed since the discovery of electricity. The invention of the “induction ring” by Michael Faraday, the British physicist and chemist, in 1831, began the process of generating high voltages from an available lower input voltage using transformers. The need for producing even higher voltages was accentuated by the requirements from physicists, using particle accelerators, to create high energy particles for studying subatomic physics. It was only during this time that Cockcroft and Walton invented a novel method for generating extremely high voltages using a unique connection of discrete diodes and capacitors—a technique that was later adopted by John F. Dickson for implementation on a modern integrated circuit. This chapter will start by examining the transformer and its shortcomings and then gradually lead to a discussion of Dickson’s implementation of the charge pump.
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