The consortium of the European project 16NRM05 designed a novel ionisation vacuum gauge in which the electrons take a straight path from the emitting cathode through the ionisation space into a Faraday cup. Compared to existing ionisation vacuum gauges, this has the advantage that the electron path length is well defined. It is independent of the point and angle of emission and is not affected by space charge around the collector. In addition, the electrons do not hit the anode where they can be reflected, generate secondary electrons or cause desorption of neutrals or ions. This design was chosen in order to develop a more stable ionisation vacuum gauge suitable as reference standard in the range of 10−6 Pa to 10−2 Pa for calibration purposes of other vacuum gauges and quadrupole mass spectrometers. Prototype gauges were produced by two different manufacturers and showed predictable sensitivities with a very small spread (<1.5%), very good short-term repeatability (<0.05%) and reproducibility (<1%), even after changing the emission cathode and drop-down tests. These characteristics make the gauge also attractive for industrial applications, because a gauge exchange does not require calibration or re-adjustment of a process.
- Hot cathode
- Ion induced secondary electron yield
- Ionisation vacuum gauge
- Secondary electrons