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Windowless transition between atmospheric pressure and high vacuum via differential pumping for synchrotron radiation applications

T Gog, DM Casa, I Kuzmenko, RJ Krakora, TB Bolin

14 (4), July, 339-344 (2007)
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A differential pump assembly is introduced which can provide a windowless transition between the full atmospheric pressure of an in-air sample environment and the high-vacuum region of a synchrotron radiation beamline, while providing a clear aperture of approximately 1 mm to pass through the X-ray beam from a modern third-generation synchrotron radiation source. This novel pump assembly is meant to be used as a substitute for an exit vacuum window on synchrotron beamlines, where the existence of such a window would negatively impact the coherent nature of the X-ray beam or would introduce parasitic scattering, distorting weak scattering signals from samples under study. It is found that the length of beam pipe necessary to reduce atmospheric pressure to below 10 mbar is only about 130 mm, making the expected photon
transmission for hard X-rays through this pipe competitive with that of a regular Be beamline window. This result is due to turbulent flow dominating the first pumping stage, providing a mechanism of strong gas conductance limitation, which is further enhanced by introducing artificial surface roughness in the pipe. Successive reduction of pressure through the transitional flow regime into the
high-vacuum region is accomplished over a length of several meters, using beam pipes of increasing diameter. While the pump assembly has not been tested with X-rays, possible applications are discussed in the context of coherent and smallangle scattering.

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