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Atlas Surface Passivation Process

Atlas has overcome the three major obstacles that have inhibited the use of aluminum in extreme vacuum applications… vacuum sealing, vacuum welding and vacuum surface passivation. Applying our knowledge and proprietary technology we produce state-of-the-art aluminum vacuum chambers that deliver the revolutionary physical and vacuum properties of aluminum at dramatic cost savings.

Atlas Vacuum Surface Passivation — Aluminum is produced with a heavy mill scale and rough (porous) oxide layer— a surface not well suited for vacuum, because it absorbs water vapor and other contaminants. After removing this rough layer Atlas cleans all metal surfaces before, during and upon completing the fabrication process. Atlas’ advanced vacuum surface passivation process replaces thick porous oxide layers with a quality thin and dense oxide surface. Atlas’ proprietary specification establishes a standard for the creation of dense oxide surface passivation. Treating aluminum in this manner effectively reduces surface area, contamination and desorption.

Atlas Advanced Vacuum Welding — Even to experienced welders, the welding of aluminum to vacuum standards is a challenge many are not capable of achieving. The welding process can introduce porous oxides that impede hermitic welding. In other industries these welds can meet mechanical standards, but when tested to vacuum helium leak standards are considered inadequate. Atlas aluminum vacuum welds are quite distinctive from conventional aluminum welds. They are more continuous, have a ‘glassy’ surface and minimized area. Atlas’ AT-AVW process reduces internal and external oxide inclusions, effectively eliminating leak paths or virtual leak pores—essential to good vacuum performance. Typically the AT-AVW process produces a smaller heat affected zone, which leads to less surface haze and contamination.

Vacuum Sealing — Atlas manufacturers all standard aluminum demountable vacuum flanges and fittings. These flanges are welded to an aluminum vacuum chamber giving access its interior. ISO quick-release and clamped / bolted style O-ring sealed aluminum vacuum flanges are the most common standard high vacuum fittings. To achieve ultrahigh vacuum levels (UHV), metal seals are required, but aluminum is soft and unable to crush copper or nickel gaskets. The Atlas CF™ Flange and Atlas ATCR™ fitting are metal seal components made by bonding a hardened knife-edge or gland sealing surface to an aluminum demountable flange or fitting body. These flanges and fittings are available in all standard sizes and configurations for weld-up to aluminum chambers and gas delivery lines.

Advanced Machining Capability — The machinability of aluminum is legendary. Atlas has invested in a ‘state of the art’ manufacturing facility that supports small to very large scale, single and multiple unit quantity, aluminum vacuum chamber fabrication. The bigger the chamber; the more economical aluminum can be. In addition to chambers, Atlas can also manufacture internal components, ensuring that an entire assembly is produced on time and to strict vacuum standards. When Atlas manufactures internal components its easier to keep focus on the end goal, the vacuum system’s ultimate performance, ensuring that the system will perform as designed.

Vacuum System Test and Qualification — Atlas vacuum chambers are fully leak tested and vacuum qualified. With clean assembly and test facilities Atlas can provide complete bakeout and residual gas analysis (RGA), vacuum leak-up, reverse pressurization and other qualification procedures. Atlas has multiple helium leak-test stations to maintain a high through-put. Atlas also offers clean assembly for internal vacuum components and devices. This saves you time and ensures that a chamber performs as designed. A chamber is not complete until it meets the Atlas minimum vacuum leak rate standard of 1×10-9 Torr liter/sec. Atlas can meet higher vacuum test standards if required.