High and Ultra High Vacuum Systems

CERN's Know-How:

  • More than 50 years of excellence in the control of large, distributed, high (HV), ultra-high (UHV) and extremely high (XHV) vacuum systems
  • World-class training for the next generation of experts in vacuum technology (around 50 early career trainees per year at technician, PhD and Post Doc level)
  • Significant know-how in surface characterisation, treatments and coatings (including electroplating and thin films)
  • Development and operation of software for the simulation of gas flow dynamics and pressure profiles

Facts & Figures:

  • 127,000 m: Combined length of vacuum vessels in the CERN accelerator complex
  • 15,000 m³:  Volume of LHC insulating vacuum system
  • 250,000 of welded joints in the LHC
  • Down to 10-12 mbar: Pressure in LHC beam pipes as on the dark side of the moon

Value Proposition:

Read more about High and Ultra High Vacuum Systems here

Key Competences

Operation of large HV, UHV and XHVsystems:

The LHC is a very large and complex system of interconnected vacuum vessels - under high (HV) to extremely high vacuum (XHV). In order to secure reliable and high-performance operation, CERN experts have developed significant expertise in vacuum systems.

A few specifications:

  • Mechanical and vacuum engineering, including thin-walled equipment such as windows and bellow
  • Sealing and leak-tightness technology
  • Simulation of gas transport in HV, UHV and XHV systems
  • Distributed control systems, interlocks and monitoring tools
  • Coatings, electroplating and surface cleaning techniques
  • Characterization of materials and surfaces for vacuum
  • Applications, including outgassing and permeation measurements
  • High temperature treatments under vacuum
  • XHV production and measurements

Key Applications

Functional thin-film coatings for UHV performance:

Getters are widely used in industry to create and maintain vacuum. CERN’s NEG method uses cathode sputtering - a vacuum deposition process - to create a thin layer of NEG coating over a wide surface area of the chamber: significantly improving the pumping effectiveness and helping to maintain UHV.

Sealing & leak tightness technology:

Tools and techniques for the sealing, detection and measurement of leaks in Ultra High Vacuum (UHV) systems. CERN’s technologies and know-how are particularly useful for pipes or joints that vary in diameter and are located in restricted places.