Loading PHI specimen mounts

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Loading PHI specimen mounts

This post explains the mechanics involved with loading PHI specimen mounts used on most of the older to current Physical Electronics surface analysis systems.

There are a number of different sizes and shapes of specimen (sample) mounts and they all use the same basic mounting and docking scheme.

The most common sample mount used on older Physical Electronics XPS and AES surface analysis systems is the Model 190 flat one inch diameter specimen holder shown below.

Model 190 sample mount

Model 190 sample mount

The basic concept is that there are two grooves on the outside of the sample mounts which are used to transfer the sample mount into the vacuum chamber, and to dock the sample mount to the specimen stage. The transfer arm has a fork on the end which connects to the bottom groove on the specimen mount and the specimen stage has three clips which snap into the bottom groove and hold the specimen mount to the stage.   The top groove is used to hold the specimen mount while mounting it to the transfer arm fork or in the case of scanning auger systems, to transfer to the parking attachment.

one_inch_sample_mount_from_side

Grooves on 190 specimen mount

 

 

 

 

Clips on specimen stage

Clips on specimen stage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are two essential steps required to successfully dock and removing the specimen holders;

  1. Make sure that the specimen stage is perfectly centered under the transfer arm fork.
  2. The specimen stage center clip needs to be lined up with the notch on the transfer arm fork.
Line up intro fork notch to clip

Line up intro fork notch to clip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

line up sample over specimen stage

line up sample over specimen stage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you have the location of the specimen stage micrometers for the load and un-load positions you can make some marks on the specimen stage micrometers so that you will be able to easily re-position the specimen stage for loading and unloading.

 Loading PHI sample mounts procedure:

  1. After you attach the sample that you want to analyze to the specimen holder (using screws and clips or carbon/silver tape). Back-fill the intro with dry nitrogen and mount the specimen holder to the sample fork. There are 2 different types of specimen mount holding tools as shown below. Or you can use a clean needle nose pliers. Pull the transfer arm out a little bit so that you can lower the specimen mount into the load lock and then move the transfer arm back in so that the fork slides over the bottom groove on the specimen mount.
    specimen mount  holding tool

    specimen mount holding tool

    sample holding tool

    sample holding tool

  2. Pump down the load lock by pressing the Pump Intro button on the AVC remote box.
  3. Move the specimen stage micrometers to the load sample position. The X and Y axis will be centered under the intro fork but the Z axis will be lowered from the dock position by at least 1 cm.
  4. After the load lock has pumped down (5 bars on the AVC remote plus a few more minutes – the longer you pump the sample, the lower the pressure burst and the less out-gassing you will have) press the  Intro Sample button on the AVC remote and the V1 gate valve will open.
  5. Move the intro arm forward to bring the sample into the vacuum chamber and push it all the way in until it hits the stop. If adjusted properly, the stop will be the correct position for docking the specimen mount.
  6. The specimen mount should be directly above the specimen stage clips.  If not adjust the X and Y on the specimen stage as needed.

    one_inch_sample_puck_above_specimen_stage

    one_inch_sample_puck_above_specimen_stage

  7. Raise the specimen stage Z axis so that the clips slide into the specimen holder bottom groove. You may need to slightly adjust the X Y or rotation (if so equipped) so that the specimen holder snaps into the clips.   Slightly moving the specimen stage rotation or the tilt on the transfer arm can also help the specimen mount to snap down into the clips on the specimen stage as you move the specimen stage Z axis.   If the specimen mount does not snap down with a minimal amount of force, back off and recheck the specimen stage X and Y position.  You do not want to damage any of the three clips on the specimen stage by crushing them. Once the clips have snapped in adjust the Z slightly until there is no gap between the bottom of the specimen holder and the specimen stage.

    one_inch_sample_puck_docking

    one_inch_sample_puck_docking

  8. After the specimen mount is docked to the specimen stage, slowly retract the intro fork until it separates from the specimen holder and then once clear, pull the intro arm all the way out of the chamber. The V1 gate valve will close automatically.

To remove a sample from the system, repeat the above procedure with the exception that the Z axis should be in the dock position so that the intro arm fork mounts to the lower groove of the specimen mount. Once you dock the load lock fork to the specimen mount, drop the Z axis on the specimen stage in order to separate the specimen holder from the specimen stage clips.

When the specimen holder is clear of the specimen stage you can pull the intro arm all the way out of the chamber and V1 will close automatically.

RBD Instruments provides new and used PHI specimen mounts.  We also provide the sample clip assembly. Contact us for more information at 541 330 0723 or visit our website by clicking the image below.

RBD specimen mount part numbers

RBD specimen mount part numbers

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Running AugerScan and AugerMap on Windows 7 – 10

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

AugerScan and AugerMap are “legacy” software applications originally developed for Windows 95 and 98, however they have been and continue to be updated for bug fixes, additional features, and operating system compatibility. Both applications (and the systems they run) are still going strong and support Windows 7 – 10.

While many customers are still content running their RBD-upgraded PHI systems on Windows XP (or 95-98!), Microsoft no longer supports those operating systems, making upgrading the OS or replacing those PCs inevitable. There are a few areas where the transitions is not as smooth as we’d yet like, and those are driver support and the legacy help system.

Drivers

RBD provides drivers for older Windows XP systems as well as drivers that are fully compatible with Windows 7 – 10. However, none of these drivers are currently digitally signed. Depending on your operating system, providing the rights to run unsigned drivers may be necessary upon installing the drivers and/or running the software.

Some of the errors you may encounter are cryptic, such as the following sometimes seen when installing unsigned drivers on Windows 10: “The hash for the file is not present in the specified catalog file”.

Driver Error

Thanks for the clarity, Microsoft!

 

The good news is that you should only have to take care of the issue once, not every time you are running the software. The bad news is the methods are different for each operating system version, and even different for the same exact operating system depending on the date it was installed and the PC BIOS.

For most versions of Windows, disabling driver signature enforcement can be accomplished easily by one of these methods.

For Windows 10 PCs that were installed (not updated) with build 1607 (Anniversary Edition), the Secure Boot feature of the BIOS must be turned off.

Help

The original Help system (largely unchanged since Windows 3.1) was phased out in Windows Vista. The context-sensitive help – also known as “what’s this?” or “right-click” help cannot be replaced (this was the information you would typically see for each field in a dialog box, for example). However, for Windows Vista through 8.1, Microsoft does provide separate downloads for the legacy help system; it’s just no longer installed in the operating system.

You can find most of those files on this Microsoft support page (scroll down to “Resolution”) For security reasons, Microsoft no longer supports this help format at all in Windows 10, and there are no third-party solutions available.

However, we’ve translated most of RBD’s help to HTML for both AugerScan and AugerMap. In each case, simply  unzip the file to a convenient folder and run “index.html” in your browser.

V4 Differential Valve Problem

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

V4 Differential Valve Problem

This post describes how to fix the problem of the V4 differential valve not opening on an AVC when the DIFFY PUMP ION GUN button on the AVC remote box is depressed.  Look at the photos at the bottom of the post for additional information.

The AVC (Auto Valve Control) has two DV6M thermocouple gauge tubes which are used to monitor the vacuum levels in the load lock and at the turbo pump. In the case of systems that have two turbo pumps, the second thermocouple gauge tube monitors the ion gun differential pumping turbo. The load lock TC gauge tube is located on under the load lock or in some cases as shown below, under the table top.

The AVC displays the vacuum level of the load lock thermocouple gauge at all times with the exception of when the DIFFY PUMP ION GUN button on the AVC remote box is depressed. In that case the AVC will momentarily monitor and display the turbo pump thermocouple gauge tube. If the vacuum level is sufficient then V4 will open. Monitoring the turbo pump vacuum is a built in safety feature of the AVC to prevent the chamber from being dumped in case the DIFFY PUMP ION GUN button on the AVC remote box is depressed while the turbo pump is off or not up to speed.

A not uncommon problem with the AVC unit is that the V4 valve will not open when the DIFFY PUMP ION GUN button on the AVC remote box is depressed.

The most common solution to this problem is that the turbo pump thermocouple gauge tube is not working properly or is not matched closely enough to the load lock gauge tube. Here is how you can test the ion gun gauge tube –

  1. Press the PUMP INTRO button on the AVC remote and pump out the load lock until you have 5 bars displayed on the AVC remote.
  2. On the back of the AVC (located on the back of the vacuum console), remove the TC1 gauge cable. TC1 monitors the load lock.
  3. Unplug the TC2 cable and move it into the J1 connector where you just unplugged TC1.
  4. Look at the AVC remote box. If the turbo pump thermocouple gauge is working properly you will see 4 bars displayed. After 2 minutes you should see 5 bars displayed.   If only 3 bars are displayed you can adjust the AVC so that V4 will open by following the steps in this older blog post – https://www.rbdinstruments.com/blog/auto-valve-control-adjustment-procedure/

If only 2 bars are displayed then the next step would be to try replacing the DV6M thermocouple gauge tube. There is only one TC controller (Hastings T6 called the hockey puck because of its shape) inside the AVC and a relay switches between the two thermocouple gauge tubes when the DIFFY PUMP ION GUN button on the AVC remote box is depressed. If the two thermocouple gauge tubes do not have similar offset and gain properties then the only solution is to replace the turbo pump DV6M thermocouple gauge tube or the intro thermocouple gauge tube in order to get them to match more closely. If the AVC reads 1 bars all the time then the hockey puck may be defective.

Usually though, the problem is that the thermocouple relay inside the AVC is not switching. Or the contacts on the relay may be dirty. In the case of the older Blue plastic relays it is common for the plastic switch throw to be cracked at the top in which case the relay may close but not all the way and so the turbo pump thermocouple gauge is not read at all.

If when you swapped TC1 and TC2 only one bar was displayed, then most likely the relay I broken or the contacts are dirty. Here is how to address that problem;

  1. The easiest way to get to the back of the AVC is to come in through the top. So, remove the wooden table tops and the aluminum ones that are towards the back of the vacuum console.
  2. Close all valves on the AVC and also turn off the turbo pump (s).
  3. Turn off the AVC control power.
  4. Remove cables from the back of the AVC, including the power cord.
  5. Unplug the air manifold cable and remove the gas manifold from the AVC (2 to 4 screws) The air-lines stay connected to the manifold and the compressed air that is connected the back of the vacuum chamber stays on..
  6. Remove the AVC control and unplug the 40 pin remote box ribbon cable.
  7. Place the AVC control on a work bench or table and remove the cover.
  8. Inspect the TC relay K3 (on older AVCs there are only 2 relays and the thermocouple gauge relay is the left one). If you have a newer AVC with 3 relays, the TC relay is the far left one. The far right one is the up to air relay. If it is the old blue relay you can remove the two mounting screws on the back of the AVC to make the relay more accessible.
  9. If the TC relay is the old Blue plastic type then most likely the relay contact pull piece is broken at the top. If you remove the cover you can inspect the top part of the pull piece and if it is cracked then the relay needs to be replaced. (You can also just move a new pull piece over from a new relay rather than unsolder the relay).
  10. If the TC relay is the newer style then most likely the contacts are oxidized and you will need to clean the contact with some fine sand paper or emery cloth followed by paper soaked in isopropanol to remove the residual small particles. (Or you can replace the relay with a new one).
  11. To clean the contacts, unplug the relay from the socket and remove it from the AVC.
  12. Remove the plastic cover from the relay (it snaps on so use small screwdriver to un snap it) then clean the contacts.
  13. You can measure the resistance on the contacts with an ohm meter and manually move the relay throw to switch between the two sets of contacts.
  14. Reinstall the relay.
  15. Reinstall the AVC control and reconnect the gas manifold and all the cables.

That should do it!   If not then please contact RBD Instruments Inc. for more assistance. We can repair your AVC controller and also provide DV6M thermocouple gauge tubes.

RBD Instruments Inc. www.rbdinstruments.com 541 330 0723

This slideshow requires JavaScript.