In the last few decades, vacuum processing has advanced considerably. Just six decades ago, high-vacuum (HV) conditions were believed to be an expensive scientific innovation, used only within academia.
To date, scientists could not replicate the pressures lower than 10−9 mbar, which represent ultra-high vacuum (UHV), mainly because of the confines of contemporary vacuum components (adapters, pumps, valves, etc.).
Therefore, the UHV pressure regime has been unlocked by the developments achieved in vacuum components, and vacuum processing is now accessible to professionals beyond academia through some of the latest industry advancements (Industry 3.0) and technological enhancements.
The contemporary field of vacuum processing shows little similarity to that of the 1960s. It is currently a standard to reproduce HV/UHV conditions at an industrial scale for processing techniques such as chemical vapor deposition (CVD), pulsed laser deposition, ion beam etching, surface analysis, sputtering, and several others.
Each of these sophisticated processes relies on a range of vacuum parts, and their market value is suggestive of their great significance. In 2017, the semiconductor sector alone consumed $2.5 billion worth of vacuum components, including the greatest material expense for semiconductor original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
These components included flanges, fittings, adapters, feed-throughs, and in-vacuum cabling, among others. With the continuous expansion of the worldwide field of vacuum processing, by 2031, the market value of vacuum parts is estimated to touch $3.1 billion.
Such a high value is a reflection of the revolutionary work that has accelerated advances in the field of vacuum engineering. The innovative capabilities in vacuum component engineering for tailor-made designs and unique applications are also suggestive of the great advancement in this field.
Custom Vacuum Adapters and Feedthroughs
In areas where several integrated systems are required, adapters are essential vacuum components. They are used to ensure a hermetic seal and to preserve suitable vacuum leak rates at a variety of interfaces. The capacity to develop these according to particular designs and without excessive costs has allowed significant advancement in system design. Vacuum adapter types comprise:
- KF mating flange to other fittings/flanges
- CF flange to other fittings/flanges
- Electrical connectivity assemblies, with Coax, Sub-D, and Triaxial feedthroughs
Allectra offers CF flanges and KF flanges made of 304L or 316L stainless steel, thus enabling manufacturers to swap fitting types from other HV/UHV applications. Furthermore, Allectra provides a wide range of electrical feedthroughs, including Coaxial, Sub-D, and the novel Triaxial, with air and vacuum connectors, for low/high current, high-frequency, or voltage measurements. These allow the highest possible sensitivity for electrical signals in the in-vacuum procedures.
References and Further Reading
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Allectra Limited.
For more information on this source, please visit Allectra.