February 2, 2017
We are currently in the midst of building this system on a Nexdep platform that will be able to achieve Ultra High Vacuum (UHV). In the vacuum community, there is much debate discerning ‘high vacuum’ and ‘ultra-high vacuum’. Though the transition areas may be slightly gray, ultra-high vacuum is generally thought to be achieved at pressures better than ~10-9 Torr. When designing a UHV deposition system such as this one, the chamber, seal type, and high vacuum pump must be chosen carefully.
This particular system comprises an electro-polished stainless steel chamber to minimize surface area and off-gassing, knife-edge seals with metal gaskets to minimize external leaks, and a high compression turbomolecular pump capable of ultimate pressures better than 10-10 Torr. When paired with a high temperature bake-out to remove any adsorbed gasses from the chamber, this system will permit true UHV thin film deposition. Being delightfully shiny is simply a byproduct of its practicality, one that we gladly accept.
Many of our partners work with processes that specifically benefit from the lower partial gas pressures present in a UHV environment. This system will be primarily used to deposit high purity, superconducting thin films of niobium. Both the UHV deposition environment and the geometry of the deposition sources have been tailored to produce the highest possible quality niobium films. Stay tuned as we receive updates from our partner on the performance characteristics of the niobium films!