Numerous commercial applications exist for the proposed compact vacuum pump, primarily to support portable analytical instruments such as mass spectrometers and leak detectors. Current-generation devices are limited by the size and mass of their high vacuum and rough pumps, or else use less capable absorption pumps. Building a small, low mass, low-cost, and low-power high vacuum pump whose performance is tuned to the needs of miniature detectors and can exhaust to greater than 1 atmosphere is expected to greatly expand the market for such devices. The pump technology to be developed under this proposal will be used in instruments being developed by some of our partners in portable mass spectrometers for use by the Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
The pumping system developed during this project is tailored to provide the vacuum necessary for a number of instruments, notably miniature mass spectrometers, leak detectors, miniature electron microscopes, etc. Such instruments are of scientific interest on future missions (e.g., to Titan), for Earth atmospheric sampling, for volcano emission monitoring, for ISS environmental monitoring, and for numerous other missions.