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LEAK
DETECTION
Introduction
Ideal vacuum chamber
• What would an IDEAL vacuum chamber look
like?
– Stable wall surfaces
– NO leaks
– only source of gas is the gas delivery system(process
in the chamber)
• In a REAL vacuum system, there can be other
sources of gas besides the gas delivery
system.
• What problems can these other gas sources
cause?
– significantly increase the pump down time.
– contaminants in the system.
Leak in vacuum systems

• Loading the unwanted gasses to the vacuum


system and then pressure increasing in the
system is known as leak.
• Leak a big problems in vacuum techniques and
leak detection is a big challenge .
• In practice there are two main aspect of leak
detection:
(1) Testing the components and
(2) Testing completed systems
Types of leaks
• There are 2 kinds of leak in the vacuum system
(1): Real leak
When the gasses passes from atmosphere into the vacuum
system
(2) Virtual leak
When the gasses or vapors load or deliver to the system by
(a) Desorption the gasses from chamber`s wall and
components
(b) Trapped spaces
Gas Sources
• The three main ways that undesired gasses
can get into a vacuum system and the
pressures increases:
– Leaks( Vertual leak and Real leak)
– Outgassing
– Backstreaming
Gas Sources
• Leaks (Real)
a crack or hole in the vacuum
system drawing molecules
from the surrounding
atmosphere into the work
chamber
• dirty/worn/damaged/impro
perly-seated seals (90%+)
• cracked or porous welds
• cracks or flaws in the
chamber walls
• loose components such as
feed-throughts
• the migration of gas through
the wall material or O-ring
Gas Sources
• Leaks (Virtual)
– apparent leaks
caused by release of
trapped gas inside
the system
• threaded fastener
cavity
• flange
connections and
contacts
– Vented screws are
used to eliminate
virtual leaks.
Gas Sources
• Outgassing: the natural
evolution of species
inside the chamber, at
low pressure,
contributing to the gas
load
– Sublimation of solid
chamber surfaces
– Desorption from the walls
of physically adsorbed
molecules
– Out-Diffusion of gas that
has been absorbed into
the grain boundaries of
the metal
– Vaporization of liquids or
solids in the chamber
Gas Sources
• When is outgassing likely to occur?
– after chamber clean
– after being open to atmosphere
• The polar nature of water molecules causes them to
persistently adsorb to chamber surfaces in many layers
due to hydrogen bonding. These layers can take a very
long time to outgas.
• How can outgassing be reduced?
– Wear gloves during cleaning
• fingerprints are disastrous to a vacuum system!
• ONE fingerprint can take several hours to outgas
in a high vacuum system!
– Thoroughly remove all liquids and residues before
closing
– use correct materials for seals, cleaning, etc.
• How does vapor pressure affect outgassing?
Gas Sources
• Backstreaming:
– an ideal pump only removes molecules and does not
give any back
– real pumps “repeat” some gasses back into the
system
• oil from diffusion pumps and rotary vane pumps
– oil-based pumping systems are designed with
anti-suckback valves, and cold traps to
minimize backstreaming
– this is the primary reason for the gradual
replacement of oil-based pumps with “dry”
pumps
Gas Sources

Permeation
Diffusion
Real
Leaks
Outgassing Virtual
Backstreaming
Trapped Volumes
Vented Screw
Double O ring sealed shafts

Atmosphere Vacuum
(760 torr)
Real leak and virtual leak curves

.
P

t t t

Leak present in
Real leak Virtual leak vacuum system
Methods of leak detection
• There is two methods for detection of the
leak: searching gas is inside (I) or out side
(O) the system
Searching gas

P out
P in>p out
gauge

detector
(I)
P in
(O) leak
Searching gas

Pin<p out Chamber


Soap bubbles
.
leak
Soap bubbles (I)
He
or
Air

It is possible to obtain higher sensitivities


using liquids of lower surface tension
Discharge tube Test
. leak

chamber

Discharge Tube

pump
Day spray Test
Dye spray

leak

pump
Spark Test
.
spark

Probe

pump
Palladium
barrier leak
.
Vacuum chamber

. detector
H2

Plalladium
plaet

- +
Thermal
cathode

_
Thermal
cathode
Halogen detector
• . +

+ _

filament

Platinum plate

_
Vacuum
chamber
Halogen gasses
Leak covering by tape
• Leak covering (O)
leak
H

A suspected leak can


be covered over with
a tape .
tape
L
If a leak present then
leak
a fall of pressure will
be observed.
Using thermal conductivity gauge as a leak
detector (trace gas detection)

Carbon
dioxide

Thermal
conductivity
gages

As the thermal conductivity varies for


different gases, an apparent change in the
pressure is seen when different gasses is
directed over the leak
Useful gas: Helium, Oxygen, Argon, CO2
Using Ionisation gauge and Ion pump as a
leak detector
• The ion gauge current and ion pump current dependent
on the gas properties.
• Chang in the ion current can be seen by using different
tape of gasses or liquids over the suspected leak.
• Useful safe gasses are: He, Co2, Ar
• Useful safe liquids are Aceton, isopropyle alchohol
Using Mass spectrometers as a
leak detector
Mass spectrometers is a excellent leak
detector.

leak Helium Leak Methods


Sniffing Test (O)

He
Mass spectrometer

chamber
He

Mass spectrometer film

He source
Helium Leak Methods
Sniffing Test (I)

He
Chamber
ALCATEL

SIMS 180TD+
Leak rate
• Leak rate is measured by standard cubic
centimeter/sec (std. cc/sec).
• Although the leak rate in vacuum system
is very low, but it is a big challenge in the
vacuum techniques.
Leak rate of 1 x 10 std cc/sec
-1
Leak rate of 1 x 10-3 std cc/sec
Leak Rates over Time

LEAK RATES
10 -1 STD CC/SEC --- 1 CC/10 SEC
10 -3 STD CC/SEC --- 3 CC/HOUR
10 -5 STD CC/SEC --- 1 CC/DAY
10 -6 STD CC/SEC --- 1 CC/2 WEEKS
10 -7 STD CC/SEC --- 3 CC/YEAR
10 -9 STD CC/SEC --- 1 CC/30 YEARS
Permeation may occur
<1X10-8 std cc/sec
Why Helium is used for leak
detection
HELIUM
• Helium is very light and small
• Low concentration in air (0.0005%)
• Permits dynamic testing
• Permits non-destructive testing
• Helium is safe
Why Helium?
• Low Background (5-20 PPM)
• Inert F
Ne
Ar
• Safe H

O Kr
• Light ?

• Low Cost Cl He N Xe
Why A Helium Leak Detector?
• High Sensitivity
• Wide Range
• Reliable
• Quantitative
• Dynamic Testing
SIMS 180TD+
Helium Leak Testing: Vacuum Mode

• The “hard” vacuum test procedure measures the


package’s increasing leak rate arising from all sources
within the sample.

• This method enables the barrier performance of seals to


be quantified.
Helium Test Methods
“Hard” Vacuum
Helium Pre-Filled Samples

1E-2 mbar

This method
is good for SIMS
vacuum
equipments
180TD+
leak testing
Helium Leak Testing: Sniffer Mode
• Individual packages containing helium can be checked for leaks
using a pencil-sized vacuum collector (sniffer) attached to a
helium leak detector.
• The rate of gas sampling (flow rate) is set at 1cc/second; enabling
a (ambient pressure) leak rate to be measured in ppm, or in
cc/second.
• The sniffer mode test procedure is “site-specific” in that the probe
collects helium escaping within ~ 1/8” of the leak site.
Helium Leak Methods
Sniffing Test

He
100% ALCATEL
He
SIMS 180TD+

This method is good for


package`s leaks
Answer this question before taking any
further actions for solving leak problems
1-Has the pressure in the system changes since yesterday?
2-can any section of the vacuum system be isolated?
3-Has the gauge calibration been checked?
4-Are there any vapors present?
5-Has a real leak been established even though not found?
6-Can you tolerate the leak that has been established?
7-Have you used some different type of cleaning material after the last
exposure to the atmosphere?
8-Have you add to or modified the interior of the vacuum system?
9-Is there any evidence of an air leak from an RGA spectrum with
peaks corresponding to masses 14, 28, 32?