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Product documentation

System user manuals

Document
CryoCore®
Cryostation® s-Series (50, 100, 200)
Cryo-Optic®
Magneto-Optic
Agile Tempurature Sample Mount (ATSM)

How-to video guides

Guide
Description
Cryostation® Overview: User Interface
Cryostation® Galaxy Software User Interface | System Overview, Navigation, Control & Settings
Cryostation® Gen-3 User Interface | Primary Operations with the Turbopump
Cryostation® s-series Generation 3 User Interface | Primary Operations: Cooldown, Warmup, Vent & Pull Vacuum with the Turbopump Vacuum Package
Cryostation® UI | ATSM - Primary Operations
Typical use for the ATSM Primary Operations: Cooldown, Warmup, Vent and Pull Vacuum with the Agile Temperature Sample Mount module.
Cryostation® User Interface | Magneto-Optic - Primary Operations
Typical use and calibrations of the Magneto-Optic module through Cryostation® user interface.
Cryostation® UI | Interactive Temperature and Vacuum Graphs
Overview of the Cryostation® Galaxy software illustrating how to access and manipulate the real-time graphical data display.
How to Recharge the Helium Compressor
This video shows the steps involved in recharging the compressor and cold head with helium. Users should expect to do a helium recharge every 18-24 months to keep the system running optimally.
Alignment, Imaging, and Use of the Cryo-Optic®
This video explains how to align an objective inside the Cryo-Optic®, how to image your sample, and how to use the Cryo-Optic® software interface and secondary back-up heater.
Assembling the Vertical Cryo-Optic®
This video shows how to assemble the Montana Instruments Cryo-Optic® within the 50 mm sample space.
Installing a 3-axis Nanopositioner Stack
This video demonstrates how to install a nanopositioner with thermal flex link assembly into the Cryostation® sample space.
Mounting a Thermometer in Your Cryostation®
Knowing the temperature of your sample in the cryostat is very important. To get good measurements, you must have a strong thermal connection to your sample area (ie. mounting) while minimizing the heat flow through the connecting wires to the sensor (ie. lagging). This video explains proper mounting and lagging techniques on several types of sample mounts.
Optimizing Your Cryostation® System Performance
This video describes how to get the best performance out of your Cryostation® in terms of temperature and vibration by optimizing both internal and external environments.

Basic Procedures

Greases

Apiezon® N-Grease

We believe it is important for users to understand the baseline performance for their particular system, so we provide a Certificate of Performance on each system that is shipped. Every assembled system goes through multiple cooldown and warmup cycles at the factory to ensure all core functions are operating as expected.Primary use: for cryogenic thermal connections

  • Thermal connections: N-grease should only be applied to metal-to-metal or metal-to-glass interfaces requiring a thermal connection, such as between the platform and bottom of a sample mount or between a metal surface and thermometer.
  • Sample mounting: N-grease is commonly used for sample mounting. However, because N-grease softens at 305 K, it should not be used for sample mounting if the user plans to operate above 300 K, especially for vertically mounted samples that may slide off.
  • Low working distance: N-grease is also used for holding the thin low working distance radiation shield windows in place.

Where to purchase: SPI Supplies

Apiezon® L-Grease

Primary use: for lubricating vacuum O-rings

  • O-rings: L-grease should only be used for greasing vacuum O-rings in the system (found on the windows and vacuum housing). O-rings should be regularly inspected, cleaned, and greased with a thin layer (just enough so the surface is shiny) of L-grease. O-rings typically need to be re-greased every 10-15 uses.

Where to purchase: SPI Supplies

Adhesives

GE Varnish Adhesive (VGE)

Primary use: for wires or samples within the 4 K space

  • Thermal lagging: VGE is used to lag wiring, such as for a thermometer. Take care not to encase the wire fully in VGE.
  • Thermal connections: VGE is often used for mounting thermometers to surfaces when a clamp or plug isn't an option. In this use-case, VGE should be thinned with acetone or isopropyl alcohol to ensure a strong thermal connection.
  • Sample mounting: VGE can also be used for sample mounting.

VGE must cure before pulling vacuum or cooling down the system! VGE takes approximately 24 hours to cure under ambient conditions, or 30 minutes at 60°C using an oven or heat lamp.

VGE joints should be inspected periodically (approximately every 6-12 months) as it can flake off after several thermal cycles. VGE only has a shelf life of one year, so be sure to replace any extra VGE annually.

Where to purchase: LakeShore

Other Adhesives
  • Sample mounting: Depending on the sample, silver paint/paste or copper SEM tape can be used in place of N-grease or VGE.
  • Low working distance: The low working distance vacuum windows are set with a two-part epoxy. This window cannot be removed and reset, as a vacuum seal will not be achieved.
Application Technique
  • Always start with a clean surface. Residual grease can be cleaned off with a Kimwipe or cotton swab and acetone or isopropyl alcohol. Spread the grease evenly on the surface. Dab in several spots and then blend in so an even amount is distributed across the surface. Avoid using too much grease - excess grease may hinder the vacuum seal or thermal connection and can also outgas and contaminate other surfaces. A thin layer (just enough so the surface is shiny) is best for metal-to-metal surfaces, samples, and O-rings.
  • When using grease for adhesion or thermal contact, apply slight pressure to the surface after mounting to ensure a good connection. A clamp or weight can be used to apply pressure while the connection cures or the object can optionally be held in place with unwaxed floss, nylon string, or Kapton® tape.
  • Do not interchange the greases! Only use greases for the applications described above. Refer to system manuals for specific application techniques for each use-case.

The sample chamber utilizes O-rings to maintain a high vacuum environment. If the O-ring seal is compromised it can cause a vacuum leak in the system. O-rings should be regularly inspected, cleaned, and greased for optimal performance. The exposed surface should be wiped with a dry Kimwipe or lens tissue and re-greased with a thin layer of L-grease (just enough so the surface is shiny) every 10-15 uses. Before every cooldown, or if a leak occurs, inspect the O-rings to ensure they are free from debris and other contaminates.

To protect O-rings, avoid setting them directly on any surface. When not on the sample chamber, the upper vacuum housing should be set on a flattened corner if it is not equipped with protruding bosses that protect the O-rings. Always wear sterile gloves to avoid contaminating surfaces.

When to Replace

O-rings rarely need to be replaced unless they are nicked or damaged. If damaged, use Teflon-tipped tweezers or your fingers to remove the O-ring. Do NOT use metal-tipped tweezers or other sharp objects as this could damage the aluminum housing.

Where to Buy

The system uses Viton O-rings as they have been shown to outgas the least under standard operating conditions.

Vacuum Housing O-rings
  • Cryostation® s50: McMaster Carr part number 5267T133
  • Cryostation® s100: McMaster Carr part number 5267T353
  • Cryostation® s200: McMaster Carr part number 5267T242
Vacuum Window O-rings
  • 50 mm vacuum windows: McMaster Carr part number 5267T44
Side Panel O-rings

All lower housing side panels also have an O-ring interface. Do NOT remove side panels before consulting with an authorized service representative.

The vacuum control unit provides an inlet for dry nitrogen gas. Although dry nitrogen is optional, it is highly recommended, especially in humid environments. While nitrogen is not used to assist in the cooling of the system, it does help to optimize vacuum levels and keep the system clean and dry.

Nitrogen is used during the following procedures:

  • When pulling vacuum independently or during a cooldown if "dry nitrogen purge" is enabled
  • When venting the system to atmospheric conditions
  • When the sample chamber is open if a "Vent Continuously" operation has been selected. Nitrogen will flow through the chamber to help keep the sample space as clean as possible during quick sample exchanges.
Nitrogen Purge Cycles

O-rings rarely need to be replaced unless they are nicked or damaged. If damaged, use Teflon-tipped tweezers or your fingers to remove the O-ring. Do NOT use metal-tipped tweezers or other sharp objects as this could damage the aluminum housing.Nitrogen purge cycles help to rid the system of contaminants by repeatedly filling the vacuum space with dry nitrogen and then pumping out the gas. The nitrogen molecules are first pumped into the sample space where they adhere to moisture/water vapor and other contaminants. The molecules are then evacuated out of the sample space and into the roughing pump during the purge portion of the cycle. Nitrogen purge cycles can decrease the initial pump-down time and improve vacuum levels. Nitrogen purges also help to clean the charcoal absorbers that trap molecules during cryo-pumping.

Nitrogen Source

The nitrogen source can either be high or ultra-high purity. The port on the back of the vacuum control unit fits a ¼ inch tube. When open, the vent valve allows 10 psi of dry nitrogen to flow into the sample space. If less than 10 psi of nitrogen is flowing through the port, the software will not detect the presence of nitrogen, but the nitrogen will still flow into the sample space at the lower pressure.

When to Use Nitrogen

Nitrogen should always be used in a few instances:

  1. If you plan to keep the system cold for a week or more. Enable "dry nitrogen purge" (3+ times) prior to cooling down to help achieve the highest integrity vacuum.
  2. If you are in a humid environment (>50% humidity). Use the "Vent Continuously" operation with nitrogen attached to avoid getting moisture into the sample space when the system is open.
  3. If you’ve had a vacuum leak. Run a "Pull Vacuum" operation with "dry nitrogen purge" (3+ times) enabled to help recharge the charcoal absorbers.
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