/Mechanical design and realization of a high-vacuum beamline connected to a high-voltage Van de Graaff accelerator

Mechanical design and realization of a high-vacuum beamline connected to a high-voltage Van de Graaff accelerator

Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Design and realize a state-of-the art shiny instrument connected to a particle accelerator

New materials and processes are being developed and investigated in the high-tech cleanroom of imec. These advancements are needed to enhance the performance of the future generations of processors, interconnect, and memory devices. To characterize the nanometer scale components, imec uses amongst others ion beam analysis methods [1]. A beam of highly energetic ions is generated by using an electrostatic Van de Graaff particle accelerator (reaching up to more than 2 million volts) [2]. The ion beam is guided, via a high vacuum tube of several meters long, onto the novel materials. Researchers investigate the interaction between the energetic ions and the novel semiconducting materials to deduce properties of the novel devices at the sub-nanometer scale.


Over the years, sections of the setup have been incrementally improved and adapted when new devices were added or replaced with modern ones. However, it combines various connection standards (some of them which are old). The goal of the project is to develop a new high-vacuum beamline section between the port where the beam exits the accelerator and the port of the magnet which steers the beam onto the sample.


First, the technical requirements need to be investigated. For example, the beam needs to travel in a high-vacuum steel tube (P < 1.E-7 mbar), and the components must be able to cope with the thermal load of the energetic beam. Between others, the setup needs to include an electrostatic beam-steerer to finely adjust the direction of the ion beam, and slits need to be included to confine the beam into a narrow ion beam spot.

Secondly, you will CAD-design a new beamline. Besides of the technical requirements mentioned above, consideration will also be given to facilitate the steady but precise external alignment of the components. Once finalized, your designs will be used to purchase the vacuum components if available and to have non-standard parts be made in the mechanical workshop.

Finally, you will jointly realize the installation and testing of the newly developed configuration.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ion_beam_analysis  

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_de_Graaff_generator



Type of project: Thesis

Duration: academic year

Required degree: Master of Engineering Technology

Required background: Mechanical Engineering

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Johan Meersschaut (Johan.Meersschaut@imec.be)

Only for self-supporting students.

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