Self-excited push-pull vacuum tube oscillator is one of the most commonly used oscillators in radio frequency (RF)-ion plasma sources for generation of ions using radio frequency. However, in spite of its fundamental role in the process of plasma formation, the working and operational characteristics are the most frequently skip part in the descriptions of RF ion sources in literatures.
The construction and detailed analysis of an RF Oscillator was done by NHERG. The circuit operates at 102 MHz, and the oscillation conditions, stability in frequency, and RF output power are studied and analyzed. A modified form of photometric method and RF peak voltage detection method are employed to study the variation of the oscillator output power with plate voltage. The power curves obtained from these measurements are quadratic in nature and increase with increase in plate voltage. However, the RF output power as measured by photometric methods is always less than the value calculated from peak voltage measurements. This difference is due to the fact that the filament coil of the ordinary light bulb used as load/detector in photometric method is not a perfect inductor. The effect of inductive reactance on power transfer to load was further investigated and a technique is developed to estimate the amount of power correction needed in the photometric measurement result.