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Edwards has designed and delivered 14 bespoke vacuum carts to Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.

The carts provide mobile high-vacuum pumping stations for the synchrotron beamlines to help create the optimum vacuum conditions required by researchers.

They also have the capability to be fitted with residual gas analysers (RGA) to analyse the integrity of the vacuum in the beamlines.

Edwards said further carts are likely to be required in the future as Diamond is in the process of adding more beamlines to the facility during phase two of its development.

This phase is due for completion in 2012 and will bring the total number of beamlines to 22.

The mobile ‘plug-and-go’ Edwards units enable researchers to avoid the cost and space requirements of numerous fixed mechanical pumping stations on each beamline.

Evacuating and venting the beamlines using the carts helps to ensure the cleanliness of systems and so helps in achieving vacuum pressures less than 5x 10-9mbar in the beamlines.

Pressures in the beamlines need to be kept in the ultra-high vacuum (UHV) region to ensure contamination does not migrate into the accelerator sections, to prevent contamination of X-ray optics and, in some beamlines, to maintain cleanliness of the samples under investigation.

Each Edwards cart comprises an EXTTM225H compound molecular vacuum pump, an XDSTM10 dry scroll pump used as the backing pump, and a combination of active Pirani vacuum, active inverted magnetron and active wide range gauges.

These are enclosed in a cart designed to meet the specific size and orientation requirements of the Diamond beamlines and which can be wheeled around the beamlines or to other locations as required.

Edwards consulted the Diamond vacuum team throughout the design and production process of the pumping carts.

Edwards designers and production engineers worked with Diamond’s specification, such as the cart dimensions, the orientation of the inlet vacuum ports along with guidelines for position of general service ports such as compressed air, power, and nitrogen for venting to come up with a suitable cart design.

Diamond staff visited the Edwards factory during testing of the prototype cart and final modifications were made to meet the requirements of the synchrotron.

Edwards has also supplied conversion kits to enable vacuum carts it had previously supplied to Diamond to be upgraded to the new design.

The EXT255H turbomolecular pump uses multi-stage axial flow turbines combined with magnetic and ceramic bearings to provide reliable, hydrocarbon- and vibration-free UHV with ultimate pressure down to 5 x10-9mbar.

The XDS10 acts as the backing pump, delivering low pressure combined with a high volume flow rate of up to 10m3/hr.

Its design isolates the vacuum environment from any type of lubricant and also protects the bearing from any process vapours.

Both pumps require minimal maintenance.

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