Advertising feature Physics World  August 2017

The invention that made UHV possible

Agilent celebrates the 60-year anniversary of the Ion Pump invention at Varian by Jesper, Helmer, and Hall, a milestone that made UHV possible. The development of this critical, enabling, foundation technology has provided clean high and ultrahigh vacuum for many applications in science and technology, ranging from particle accelerators and analytical instruments to semiconductors and coatings.

Technology innovation from the market leader

Varian, now part of Agilent, has always been at the forefront of vacuum technology, setting industry standards since the invention of the ion pump.

The first sputter ion pump was developed to improve the life and performance of microwave tubes by continuous pumping with “appendage” ion pumps. The era of ultrahigh vacuum was ushered in by Varian’s invention of the sputter ion pump and the ConFlat flange (CFF). The availability of vacuum systems that could routinely achieve pressures below 10-11 mbar (Torr) enhanced R&D efforts in high energy physics. Agilent has been the major innovator in UHV technology, from the first Diode VacIon pump to the Triode, then to the StarCell series pumps, and the VacIon Plus. Agilent supplies Ultrahigh Vacuum solutions to all major academic and government labs, particle accelerators and synchrotrons, and large physics projects worldwide. Ultrahigh vacuum produced by Agilent ion pumps is a critical element of particle physics research. This technology has been essential from the early days to the recent milestone discoveries of the Higgs boson on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and of the Gravitational Waves at LIGO.

(1) The first ion pump – invented at Varian, now a part of Agilent, by Jesper, Helmer, and Hall in 1957. (2) VacIon Plus Pumps From 0.2 to 1000 L/s, Diode, Noble Diode and StarCell pumping elements, wide range of corrosion and radiation resistant HV feedthroughs and cables, safety interlock, optimized vacuum processing. (3) Application specific solutions for SEM – a complete line of ion getter pumps dedicated to electron microscopy. The patented design ensures stable current readings and low particle generation.

(4) UHV Ion Pump Controller – this versatile, low noise unit, operates up to four pumps of any type and size, simultaneously and independently. (5) Agilent VIP200 – the first ion pump with maximum pumping speed at low pressure: eXtreme high vacuum performance; best pumping speed at 10_8 mbar; innovative vacuum thermal treatment; new pumping element and heater design; versatility and most compact footprint. (6) Solutions for particle accelerators – inline ion getter pump with internal RF shielding and external B-field shielding. (7) Agilent VIP1000 – a complete line of ion getter pumps dedicated to electron microscopy. The patented design ensures stable current readings and low particle generation.