New MBE system install: Day 1

Faebian Bastiman

After a Christmas time crossing of the North Sea, our new Riber 32P system arrived from Norway. The delivery comprised the growth and preparation chambers on two separate stands, 3 racks, the bake out panels and two boxes of cables and other parts. The courier placed the Riber 32P system in our new lab (see photo below).

Start of day 1

The first task was manoeuvring the growth and preparation chambers into position and physically bolting the chambers together. The growth chamber has a CF-200 port aligner that allows the angle of the flange to be altered. The actual connection was greatly assisted by a pair of wheeled prying bars (see before and after shots below).

before and after

Once the preparation and the growth chamber were connected, the valve between the two was close. First the preparation chamber was pumped down to 10-3 mBar using a scroll pump. After one hour the scroll was then exchanged for a Pfeiffer Hi-Cube and the preparation ion gauge was turned on, the reading was 1 x 10‑4 mBar and dropping.  A good start for system that had been at atmospheric pressure for weeks. The preparation chamber was down to 3.4 x 10-6 mBar the next morning.

The scroll pump was then transferred to the growth chamber, which was pumped to 10‑3 mBar through the night. The growth chamber was still populated by aluminium blanking flanges and rubber gaskets. The quality of the vacuum is therefore much poorer compared to the seal achieved with a stainless steel conflat (CF) flange and a cut copper gasket. The chamber itself is close to 200 litres capacity and so the scroll pump takes much longer to achieve a 10‑3 vacuum.

With the system on site and in one piece, it is time to turn our minds to the parts and services required to create a functioning MBE system. The following days’ posts will document our installation procedure, outlining the steps involved and problems encountered along the way.

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