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High performance Pirani vacuum gauge

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3 Author(s)
Shie Jin-Shown ; Institute of Electro‐Optical Engineering, National Chiao Tung University, Hsinchu Taiwan, Republic of China ; Chou, B.C.S. ; Chen, Yeong‐Maw

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As an extension of previous work in our laboratory, a wide‐range Pirani gauge that is capable of measuring vacuum pressure down to 10-7 Torr reproducibly has been built. The micromachined Pirani sensor used in the experiments has a suspended membrane that is supported by the nearly radiation‐limited, thermally insulating beam leads crossing over a V‐groove cavity. A method of partial dummy compensation, as proposed previously by Weng and Shie for eliminating the ambient drift, is proved here to be very effective with a thermal drift as small as only 5.7 μV/°C. It has also been found that a thermal‐stress‐induced piezoresistive effect, which has a profound influence on the limitation of measurement, appears in the constant‐bias operation wherein the sensor temperature rises with the reduction of gas pressure and therefore thermal conduction. This effect causes the irreproducibility of pressure measurements by the device below 10-5 Torr. In addition to its inherently higher sensitivity, a constant‐temperature circuit together with a thermoelectric stabilization of the sensor substrate temperature can eliminate the induced piezoresistive error. The constant‐temperature circuit operating on the micro‐Pirani sensor together with the above‐mentioned temperature compensation and the stabilization methods have extended gauge capability down to 10-7 Torr, which is only limited by the signal readout resolution (∼1 μV). This is three orders of magnitude more sensitive than the conventional vacuum gauges of the thermal conductivity type. © 1995 American Vacuum Society

Published in:

Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces, and Films  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 6 )