Technical Developments

We have developed a compact UHV deposition chamber that was designed to perform grazing incidence scattering and spectroscopy experiments in situ using hard x rays. The primary purpose of this chamber is to study the growth and the interface formation of transition metal elements, as well as oxidation processes on such metallic surfaces. This requires particular care regarding vacuum quality and surface modification monitoring. The system has been kept compact to fit in most synchrotron experimental hutches without compromising the experimental flexibility. In particular it is equipped with a load/lock system for fast sample exchange and an ellipsometer for online monitoring of the growth process. The ellipsometry, together with a complete remote control of the deposition process, allows one to precisely follow the evolution of the sample surface during the x-ray scattering experiments.

The system is composed of a main UHV chamber that is used for the film preparation and the analysis using x rays, and a load-lock system for fast sample transfer without breaking the main chamber vacuum. As can be seen in Fig. 2, the system is surrounded by a rigid aluminum cradle (made of aluminum profile Rose-Krieger F50), which can be mounted on a heavy duty two-circle goniometer (maximum load 200 kg, HUBER Diffraktionstechnik GmbH, model 5202.8). This goniometer is equipped with step motors which achieve an angular precision of 10-5 deg. The center of rotation of this double tilt stage is located at the sample position, 390 mm above the goniometer plate. Precise sample alignment with respect to the x-ray beam is achieved by moving the complete system placed on heavy duty horizontal and vertical X-Z translation tables commonly available at synchrotron facilities. This scheme leads to sample positioning precision of few microns with respect to the beam, without affecting the sample position in the chamber. With total dimensions of 222x80 cm2, the system is still compact enough to be mounted on various synchrotron experimental stations.