The project

Vacuum is an important and indispensable tool for many industrial applications from the semiconductor industry, photovoltaic, lightning industry to food packaging to name just a few examples.

Primary and secondary standards for total vacuum pressures are relatively well established worldwide. These measurement standards provide the possibility to disseminate the absolute pressure scale below atmospheric pressure for pure gases (mainly nitrogen) and under equilibrium or stationary conditions.

Industrial processes, however, very rarely work with pure gases (e.g. physical and chemical vapour deposition) and often operate in non-equilibrium environments (e.g. CD/DVD metallization), where the pressure is dynamically changing. In addition, there is a lack of a traceable or comparable method for outgassing rate measurement to fully characterise the material that is made into a component or built into a vacuum chamber (e.g. EUV-Lithography).

Another aspect of industrial vacuum metrology is leak and material testing. Leak and small outflow measurements are very important in many branches of industry (cold storage facilities, air conditioning systems whose leak rates have to meet the requirements of e.g. DIN 8964 and EN 14091, containment systems for toxic, radioactive and environment polluting substances). Nevertheless, the leaks usually occur under conditions different from those used for calibration: different pressures, temperatures and temperature gradients, gas species and mixtures or even liquid flows through the leak instead of gas. Research is needed to provide industry with traceability under practical conditions.

Measurement standards for partial pressures and dynamic pressures were established in this JRP. Where traceability to measurement standards is not possible, standardisation helps industry to have comparable measurements available. Research was carried out both to establish measurement standards and to enable standardisation. This research lead to a facility for dynamic pressures and established traceability for partial pressures, outgassing rates and leak rate measurement in industry.