CERN Accelerating science

European Organization for Nuclear Research

Non-evaporable getter (NEG) thin film coatings

Non-evaporable getter (NEG) thin film coatings


Getters are materials widely used in industry to create and maintain vacuum. To realize ultra-high vacuum at low temperatures, a new technology has been developed based on the Non-Evaporable Getter (NEG) thin film coatings. These coatings, produced by sputtering, may recover their chemical reactivity (i.e. pumping function) by heating at temperature as low as 180 °C.
NEG thin-film coatings have been developed for the LHC project and have been already tested in a real accelerator at ESFR - Grenoble and ELECTRA-Sincotrone Trieste.

Please see related information here on Palladium thin-film coatings.

Areas of expertise

High and ultra-high vacuums; Surfaces and coatings.


  • Improvement of pumps or creation of innovative pumps.
  • Electron and cathode tubes.
  • Vacuumthermal insulation at high temperature (solar applications).
  • Vacuumcomponents of any types (blanks, bellows, crosses, Tees, transitions) to replace or complement pumps of other types.
  • Microelectronics.
  • Vacuum thermal insulation at low temperature.

Innovative features

  • After activation, the surface outgassing induced by radiation and / or particle bombardment is strongly reduced.
  • The coating blocks the outgassing of the underlying vacuum chamber walls.
  • The vacuum chamber is transformed from a gas source into a pump.


  • NEG performance was characterised using 20 different types of materials.
  • Baking at temperature in the range 180 ℃ to 400 ℃.
  • Ultra-high vacuum is achieved (10 - 13 Torr).


  • Reversible process for hydrogen.
  • Up to 50 venting cycles possible with a marginal performance loss.


  • Can not be exposed too often to ambient air.
  • Requires high degree of know-how.

Intellectual Property status

Ready for licensing except for systems for microscope ion and electron beam source chamber and sputter-ion pumps. Patented technology, WO9749109.

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