How to align the 04-303 ion gun

This post explains how to align the Physical Electronics 04-303 ion gun typically found on PHI Auger electron spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy systems. The alignment principles explained here will apply to just about any surface analysis ion source.

First, here is a video that explains all of the alignment methods:

Next, here is a link to a tech tip that explains the theory and operation of the 04-303 ion gun: 04-303 Ion Source Theory and Alignment

Finally, here is the basic operation and alignment taken from the tech tip:

04-303 Ion Gun Operation

Basic Operation:

1. On the 11-065, set the Emission/Pressure meter switch to Emission. Make sure that the scale switch is in the X1 (times one) position.

2. Press the Diff Pump Ion Gun button on the AVC remote, or manually pump the ion gun.

3. Slowly turn up the Emission knob until you have 25mA of emission current (X1 position).

4. Switch the Emission/Pressure meter switch to Pressure.

5. Slowly open the argon leak valve on the 04-303 ion gun until you have 15 mPa of pressure on the meter. This corresponds to approximately 2 x 10-8 torr when differentially pumped, and 2 x 10-7 torr when not differentially pumped.

You are now ready to sputter. When you turn the ion beam voltage on, the ion gun will be sputtering.

Alignment: Visual Method

This works in both ABS and SED image modes. SED mode is sometimes easier to work with.

1. Insert a SiO2 sample and position it to the focal point of the analyzer. Use 30o to 60o of tilt.

2. Get a low magnification image of the SiO2. Use a low electron beam voltage, such as 1.5kV in order to get the largest possible image size (the lowest possible magnification).

3. Set up the ion gun as discussed above. Set the condenser to 5.00 (the smallest spot size) and the objective to 3.40.

4. Turn on the ion gun beam voltage. If the electron beam current and the ion beam current are approximately the same value, the ion beam spot should be visible on the TV monitor.

5. Mechanically adjust the position of the ion gun (turn the thumb screws) to center the ion beam spot on the TV monitor. Adjust the OBJ for the smallest spot size.

For more information or to order a replacement ionizer for your 04-303 ion gun, visit our website at www dot rbdinstruments dot com

04-303 or 06-350 Ionizer replacement procedure video

The procedure to replace the ionizer on a 04-303 or 06-350  ion gun is one of those things that once you see it done, you know how to do it. You can expect to replace your ionizer anywhere from once every few years to once every few months, depending on how much sputtering you do. For most people it will be about once every 6 months.

It takes about 10 minutes to replace the ionizer once the system has been vented, and this video takes you through the process from start to finish:

TIP: Be careful not to drop the flat head ionizer retainer screws into the source as you remove or install the ionizer assembly. If you do, they usually fall down to the inside of the ion gun wall and you can get them out using a screw driver or wire with some tape on the end of it (clean the screw afterwards). If you can’t see them, you will need to pull the source off and find them for sure as there is a slight chance that they can fall into the differential pumping port and eventually work their way down to the turbo pump.   Turbo pumps blades that are spinning at 60,0000 RPMs or more do not like to get hit with small stainless steel screws.

RBD Instruments provides a rebuilding service for the 04-303 and 06-360 ionizers as well as an Argon bottle gas refill service. Our filaments typically last for 1100 hours under normal operating conditions.

In addition to the 04-303 ionizers, we also provide filaments for the 04-300, 04-191/2 and 04-161/2 ion guns.

For more information, please visit the Ion Gun Filaments and Grids section of our website.


04303 high voltage feedthrough

Filament – Pins 1 and 2
Grid – Pin 5
Extractor – Pin 4