UCL Department of Space and Climate Physics


Thermal Vacuum & Electron calibration

The calibration facilities provide: Low Energy Plasma (electron and ion) & Optical (wide ranging capability for low temperature optical/radiometric calibration).

The MSSL thermal vacuum test facility can also be configured as a low energy electron calibration chamber. The latter configuration is for sole use by MSSL projects. When configured for thermal vacuum tests the facility is available to other research groups and commercial establishments.


The system is housed in a cylindrical stainless steel vacuum chamber which is 1.1m long and 1.0m in diameter manufactured by Leybold. The chamber is pumped to pressures below 5x10-7 mBar by a combination of a rotary pump, a turbopump and a helium cryopump. The electron calibration facility is housed inside a grounded mu-metal shroud inside the chamber, enclosed at both ends. This ensures that the residual magnetic field inside the chamber is less than one tenth of the Earth’s magnetic field, which results in an electron beam divergence of less than 1o at 1keV. The mu-metal shroud is 0.7m long, 0.6m wide and ~0.6m in height.


Dimensions: 1m diameter by 1.1m long.

Electron beam diameter: 110 mm

Electron beam energies: 30 eV to 20 KeV

Base vacuum pressure: 5 x 10-6 mBar.

Temperature range (shroud): -40o C to +80o C.

Temperature range (platen): -140o C to +100o C.

Temperature control: Closed loop PID control, +0.5o C -0.5o C.

Temperature measurement: 4 wire 1/10 DIN PT100 sensors, 8 sensors total.

Temperature and pressure logging: 8 channel plus pressure logging, user set logging interval.

Electrical feedthroughs: Various D-Sub connectors and high voltage connectors (contact us for more detail)


Nominal, in use by ChaPS for TechDemoSat.