Vacuum Gauge and Residual Gas Analyzer

26 03 2009

This chamber did come with a vacuum gauge, but it only goes down to 10E-3 torr, so it’s not suitable for our needs.

What we need is an Ionization gauge. I found one product that I really liked, the Intru Tech Hornet. It seems very easy to use: install conflat, plug in power, and get a reading. Coming in at under $1K, this gauge is in my budget. 

However, this is the scenario I imagine happening if I get this gauge: we get the pressure down to 10E-6 torr and that’s as low as it goes. At this point you need a Residual gas analyzer, to make any further diagnosis. If you see air, you have a real leak from the outside. If you see water you need a bake-out. If you see hydrocarbons, you have outgassing. I found the extorr,  which combines a Pirani, Ion Gauge, and RGA. It’s $3,450, and a stretch for my budget, but would be the only gauge you needed. It requires a windows box, and the software looks clunky.

Would an RSA also be useful for monitoring the pressure of the process gasses (deuterium/hydrogen/boron/helium)?

Grant Writing

26 03 2009

I’m starting to explore grants as a funding option.

My labmate Stuart has won several grants, so I asked him where I might start my search. Stuart says:


SBIR is probably the most accessible program. this site indexes the different agencies.

your stuff will have to fit into one of the topics of a solicitation though. this isnt the kind of thing you can do as an individual either. your company has to be registered with d&b and on the gov’t contractor database at

I’ve won 2 of these through nasa, both times i proposed with a team of 3 or 4 people who’ve done substantial prior work for nasa. a proposal usually takes 100-150 man hours to put together.

I’m sure there are other routes but sbir is definitely the most straightforward.


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