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Ultra high vacuum and extreme high vacuum is quite a bit different than lower vacuum regimes. The vacuum chamber material, its geometry, pumping methods, and conductance play a huge role in the quality of the vacuum.

The gases inside an XHV vessel can seemingly behave counter-intuitively.  For example, we have seen that at extreme high vacuum, gases will appear to collect in a section of vessel as if to create a localized high pressure zone. This is probably the wrong way to think about what is going on.  It is probably better to think of this as really a lower vacuum zone where there is a conductance limitation. This limitation confines gases so they collect in particular geometries.

We have designed and built a wide variety of UHV and XHV vessels for many different applications ranging from industrial OEMs to national laboratories and universities. We have experience in integrating non-evaporative getter pumping (NEG) with titanium sublimation pumping (TSP) directly into the vessel so that these extremely high vacuum levels can be achieved.

Key design points for UHV and XHV

• It is very important to utilize materials with low hydrogen desorption rates and permeabilities. Stainless steel is not a good choice because of its very high solubility and very high hydrogen content. Aluminum is a great cost-effective option. Titanium is also very good, particularly if you are needing to bake at a very high temperature.

• Designing systems with the proper conductance is critical to achieving these very high vacuum levels. The mean free path of gases (the distance a gas molecule will travel before hitting another) are extremely long which means that conductance becomes very important. Big unobstructed pumping ports are essential because confined geometries may collect gas.

• Pumping is very important.  The kinds of pumps can vary from scroll & turbo to ion, TSP, and NEG.  There have been, however, newer specialized turbo pumps that are close to reaching XHV, provided they are combined with excellent backing pumps.

We offer UHV and XHV engineering and design services.  Our comfort with materials beyond stainless steel and our deep knowledge of these materials equips us to properly design your UHV and XHV vessels. We also have full manufacturing capacity and can build what we design. We understand that the design must, of course, be buildable and we have been doing that for over 20 years. We look forward to talking with you.

Please contact us or see our blog to learn more.

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