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The operating principles of the two duoplasmatron ion sources and the PIG source available for the Van de Graaff accelerator have been determined qualitatively, mainly by studying the extensive literature on ion sources. The main characteristics of the three sources have therefore been determined experimentally on an ion source test bench. Important parameters of the sources such as the pressure and temperature in different regions of the sources not measured, because of space limitations. However, in spite of these limitations in quantitative understanding of the sources, sufficient information to continue with the study of the beam transport through the Van de Graaff accelerator and its beamlines could be obtained from these measurements. With regard to beam intensity, lifetime and gas consumption the measurements showed that the hotcathode duoplasmatron is at present by far the most suitable source for the van de Graaff accelerator. The emittance of the ion source was measured with two slits, 90 mm apart, and a Faraday cup in the ion source test bench at an arc voltage of 83 V, an arc current of 1 Amp, a filament voltage of 24 V and an extraction voltage of 5 kV. The measured emittance for 90% of the beam intensity is 48π mm mrad. This figure will be used to calculate the beam transmission through the Van de Graaf accelerator. Different computer programs have been used for these calculations from the ion source through the terminal section, the accelerator and beam line up to the Nuclear Microprobe (NMP) for beam quality.