Image Credit: Terra Universal, Inc. | Nor-Cal Products, Inc. | BJB Enterprises, Inc.
Vacuum chambers and components are specialized vessels that can maintain a high vacuum process environment for manufacturing thin films, microelectronics, optics and materials. Chambers usually consist of a series of components such as a baseplate, feedthrough collar and service well that together provide a complete chamber. Complex vacuum chambers are often designed and fabricated on a custom basis to meet an end-user's application requirements. Gloveboxes, welding chambers, degassing boxes or surface analysis chambers are vacuum chambers pre-engineered for specific applications. Degassing chambers and gloveboxes typically operate in the rough to low vacuum range for welding, degassing plastics or composite laminates, or encapsulating components.
There are a number of different components to a vacuum chamber.
- Baseplates are large flanged adapters that connect the lower section of a chamber to the pumping stack or system. They usually have a centrally located port or flange connection that may be connected to a vacuum pumping system.
- Box or degassing chambers are box shaped chambers usually with a hinged access door for applications that do not require a high vacuum, such as the outgassing of samples including plastics, blood, adhesives, chemicals, or other liquids.
- Service wells are components that provide a transition stage between the pumping stack or system and the bell jar or chamber.
- Base wells integrate the features of both a baseplate and a feedthrough collar. They provide the functionality of both components while replacing one vacuum seal with a weld joint.
- Specialty chambers are customized or designed shapes or port openings for a specific manufacturing process or analysis application. Surface analysis or universal chambers are often the starting point for a custom configured chamber design.
- Gloveboxes and weld chambers are specialized chambers for manual or experimental melting, welding or processing of titanium, zirconium, or other atmosphere sensitive materials.
- Feedthrough collars are a transition component between the baseplate and the chamber. Feedthrough collars provide additional height and more feedthrough ports.
- Load lock chambers are specialized, small chambers that are built onto a main chamber to allow movement of samples, wafers or process components from atmosphere to high vacuum without breaking the main vacuum.
Features common to vacuum chambers and components are flange and fitting choices, polished or electro-polished surfaces, openings or feedthrough ports, heaters, and cooling options.
Vacuum equipment is used for degassing, welding and the manufacturing of thin films, semiconductors, microelectronics / wafers, optics and specialty materials.