16th & 17th October | Ricoh Arena Coventry
16th & 17th October | Ricoh Arena Coventry
The 4th Vacuum Symposium UK Conference hosted a variety of technical meetings of general and specialist interest that attracted 142 registered delegates. The Conference is established as an annual event alongside Vacuum Expo and provides a much needed forum for scientists, academics, technicians and industrial users who share ‘vacuum’ as a common interest.
This year there were four, free to attend, technical meetings arranged with support from a number of commercial sponsors as well as the Institute of Physics and the British Vacuum Council.
The Vacuum-based coating technology and applications meeting provided an update on methods where vacuum, plasmas and energyassistance methods are used in industrial coating processes. Erwin Kessels from the Technical University of Eindhoven gave an interesting overview of Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) which allows for the deposition of uniform, ultrathin films with Ångstrom-level resolution and with a high conformality on complex (nano) structures. Other contributions related to energy-assisted physical vapour deposition methods where energetic atoms of coating material are deposited on a substrate, often with additional energy provided by energetic ion bombardment. An overview of the effects of energy-assistance on coating properties was given by John Colligon which highlighted the importance of added energy per depositing atom and the effects of impurities on the properties of the deposited material. Subsequent talks by Arutiun Ehiasarian (High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering: HIPIMS) and James Dutton (High Target Utilisation Sputtering: HiTUS) illustrated the latest methods for producing coatings using energyassistance. Talks on applications of the coatings included a Plasma-Assisted Chemical Vapour Deposition diamond coating process, an environmentally friendly coating for ball bearings, and coating a pumping surface for synchrotron and accelerator systems.
The RGA Calibration in Industry and Research meeting was the 11th meeting organised by the RGA User Group. The programme focussed on the requirements that users have for calibrating quadrupole mass spectrometers and developments in providing suitable calibration techniques including insitu methods. The meeting was pleased to welcome
Karl Jousten (PTB, Berlin) and Janez Setina (IMT, Slovenia) as leading scientists in this field. They covered the topics of ‘Recent steps towards traceability for partial pressure and outgassing measurements’ and ‘First results of investigations of metrological characteristics of QMS within EMRP IND12’ (a European project). Other talks included an overview of the use of RGA at Diamond Light Source, latest results from comparative tests carried out in ASTeC at Daresbury Laboratory and a closer look at Quadrupole mass spectrometry in vacuum technology by Jonathan Batey.
The Functional Thin Films meeting provided a comprehensive mix of presentations on the production, characterisation and commercial applications of functional coatings. Speakers from a range of prestigious industrial and academic institutions gave high-quality presentations in sessions on “Characterisation of Functional Thin Films”, “Industrial Processing”, and “Materials and Applications”. The subjects covered ranged from high barrier measurement and electrical characterisation, to applications in OLEDs, flexible electronics and PV, and issues arising from industrial scale-up and production.
The meeting provided a valuable opportunity for the industrial and academic communities to meet and exchange ideas; and to keep updated on the key issues facing UK research into Functional Thin Films
The All Aspects of Leak Detection meeting proved very popular with delegates wishing to learn more about leak detection methods and see latest instruments presented by vacuum equipment suppliers. The opening invited talk presented by Richard Pilkington on the ‘History of leak detection’ was an excellent start to the meeting setting the scene for the remaining talks.
Presentations included leak detection challenges for particle accelerators and the design of leak detection systems. A particular highlight was the talk by an invited speaker from PTB in Berlin, Karl Jousten. Karl developed the theme ‘Vacuum metrology for Science and Industry’ by considering the requirements for leak detection in qualification and certification.
At the end of the meeting a one hour hands on session held in the vacuum exhibition hall allowed delegates to see the latest leak detectors available on the market and to try them out.
The Poster Session was held in the exhibition hall (Vacuum Expo) and included posters covering many of the topics featured in the technical meetings. Again this year the Institute of Physics (IOP) Vacuum Group supported the event by offering a poster prize of £100.
After careful consideration, the nominated judges awarded this year’s prize to Hayley Brown of Plasma Quest Ltd. Her poster on Nanostructure Gas Barrier Film for Plastic Electronics Deposited by Remote Plasma Sputtering, particularly impressed the judges. The prize was awarded to Hayley by Professor John Colligon, chair of the IOP Vacuum Group.
Demand for basic and advanced training in vacuum science and technology within the UK continues to be high. This was underlined by the fact that each of the courses offered this year were oversubscribed before the symposium began. A total of 38 individuals received training through 3 different training courses over 2 days with a total attendance figure across all courses of 83. The majority of attendees were vacuum users from UK industry where applications of vacuum continue to increase. A new training course on ‘Clean Vacuum & UHV’ was offered for the first time this year and was delivered by Ron Reid (Vacuum Consultant). The course proved very popular and has helped many to grasp a better understanding of this increasingly important area.