30 Years of Cold Cathode guage: A Journey Through Time

As the old adage goes, time flies when you're making history. Today, we mark a significant milestone in the world of vacuum measurement as we celebrate 30 years of the revolutionary Cold Cathode product line. But before we delve into the present, let's take a nostalgic trip back to the year it all began.

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Flashback to 1994

The year was 1994, and the grunge anthem "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana was on everyone's lips. Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" caused a sensation and was celebrated as a masterpiece of independent cinema. The 1994 FIFA World Cup shattered viewership records, watched by over 3.5 billion people worldwide, while Brazil secured its fourth World Cup title. The introduction of the World Wide Web and the first widely-used web browser, Netscape Navigator, laid the foundation for the age of the internet, which would forever change the world.

In that same year, INFICON laid the foundation for what would become a game-changer in the industry. Back then, INFICON was still part of Balzers .The Cold Cathode product line (at that time IKR/PKR) emerged as a testament to our commitment to pushing boundaries and redefining what was possible in vacuum technology. Fast forward to the present, and the Cold Cathode line stands tall as a beacon of excellence, boasting three decades of unparalleled performance and reliability. But what exactly is this celebrated product, and why has it garnered such acclaim?


A Company History

In the 1960s, the company, or field of research, that would later become known as INFICON was a part of "Balzers", a Liechtenstein-based company specializing in vacuum technology. It wasn't until 1969 that the name INFICON came into existence, when a group of scientists and engineers from General Electric (GE) and Syracuse University (SU) convened in Syracuse, New York, to develop a Halogen leak detector. 

Over the years, INFICON has established itself as a leader in vacuum technology, leak detection, and thin film technology. The company's commitment to innovation and quality has led to the development of cutting-edge products and solutions that have become industry standards.

Today, INFICON continues to drive advancements in vacuum instrumentation and process control, helping customers optimize their processes, improve productivity, and achieve their goals efficiently. With a global presence and a reputation for excellence, INFICON remains at the forefront of technology, serving diverse markets with precision and expertise.

Unveiling the Cold Cathode: A Paradigm Shift in Vacuum Measurement

PKR is a cold cathode with Pirani as a combined sensor, i.e. it provides a single output signal for two measuring principles. This was revolutionary at the time, as it made it possible to combine two gauges in one and eliminated the need to activate the cold cathode separately. The Cold Cathode is its predecessor and laid the foundation for this technology. It is a pure cold cathode without the combination aspect. 

The Cold Cathode product line represents a paradigm shift in vacuum measurement technology. Designed to meet the rigorous demands of various industries, from semiconductor manufacturing to research laboratories, these instruments offer precision, accuracy, and unmatched sensitivity. 

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IKR (2)

At its core, the Cold Cathode utilizes Cold Cathode Ionization Gauge technology, a method pioneered by INFICON that relies on the measurement of ionized gas particles to determine pressure levels within a vacuum system. This innovative approach provides real-time feedback, allowing operators to monitor and control vacuum processes with precision. One of the key features that sets the Cold Cathode apart is its versatility. Whether you're operating in ultra-high vacuum environments or dealing with corrosive gases, these instruments are engineered to deliver consistent and reliable performance across a wide range of applications. 

Moreover, the Cold Cathode line is backed by INFICON's decades of expertise and commitment to quality. Rigorous testing and stringent quality control measures ensure that each instrument meets the highest standards of reliability and durability, making it a trusted companion for professionals worldwide.

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IKR (3)

Looking Ahead: A Legacy of Innovation Continues

As we celebrate 30 years of the Cold Cathode product line, we not only reflect on past achievements but also look ahead to the future. With emerging technologies and evolving industry demands, INFICON remains dedicated to pushing the boundaries of vacuum measurement and setting new standards of excellence.

So, here's to three decades of innovation, excellence, and unwavering dedication. The Cold Cathode product line may have started as a groundbreaking concept 30 years ago, but its legacy continues to shape the future of vacuum technology, one milestone at a time. Moreover, GeminiTM stands as the contemporary successor to this renowned product line, carrying forward its spirit of innovation and reliability into the modern era.

And the story goes on...

The story continues with the introduction of the Self-Excited Optical Emission Spectrometer, Augent® OPG550. Combining a cold cathode with a spectrometer, this innovative device excites plasma within the chamber. The resulting spectral lines are then evaluated by the spectrometer.

This technology finds diverse applications, including chamber leak checks with leak gas determination, faster Rate of Rise (RoR) tests, real-time endpoint detection, and monitoring gas types and concentrations during processes. With its capabilities, the Self-Excited Optical Emission Spectrometer represents a significant advancement in analytical instrumentation, enabling enhanced performance and efficiency across various industries.

INFICON Augent OPG550 in lab
INFICON Augent OPG550 in lab
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