Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin

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hzbEMIL • Watching the Secret Lives of Atoms

A day at EMIL

authored 3 years ago:

EMIL´s UFO-like deposition compartments and the importance of pressure behavior

Post 1, Post 2, Post 3 and Post 4

Núria clicks on a computer – and a glass sample starts to move from one chamber of the UFO-like looking compartments to another. I find it fascinating how fast and precise everything is and how my and Núria’s work at this point comes down to keeping a close look on the temperature and pressure of the set-up which can be read from displays on the left and right from the sample position. Once we reach the desired behavior of the pressure and the temperature, we would start with the thin film’s deposition process – better known as evaporation.

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The pressure-observation is crucial – in fact it is so important that Núria wrote down the values in her lab book almost every minute. “But why?” – I wonder. “Why don’t you just write the final value before we start the evaporation?”, I asked her. Núria smiled, remembering how not writing the pressure constantly once brought her confusion about her experiment: Namely, everything seemed to be fine, but as soon as the evaporation process was done, she realized there was nothing deposited on the sample.

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The reason was that in fact we are not that interested in a final pressure value as we are interested in the pressure behavior as we can use it as an indicator to monitor the evaporation process. Núria: “If the pressure is not increasing – then there is no evaporation happening.”