November 2015 newsletter

Ion Times

Proper care for your Ion Source Grids

Even though we offer grid cleaning services, many customers choose to do their own ion source grid maintenance. With proper attention to detail, keeping your grids in good working order is not too difficult. There are a couple important things to keep in mind. As with any high-tech device, improper maintenance can cause more harm than benefit.

The nominal maintenance interval for Molybdenum grid sets is 200 process hours. Past this point, the coating deposited on the grid may begin causing noticible changes in the ion source performance and will decrease grid lifetime.

We recommend media blasting at no more than 40psi air pressure, and with 150 grit alumina media. During the blasting process, the blast nozzle should be held roughly 6 inches from the grid, and ideally at about a 30 degree angle from surface normal. It is even possible to repair the shape of deformed grids slightly using this process! For more information, click here or contact us directly.

As always, if you just don’t have the time or desire to clean the grids yourself, Plasma Process Group offers a quick service to clean them for you!

Please note – it’s not a great idea to media blast graphite grids. Any Molybdenum or Titanium grids from Plasma Process Group are fine to media blast. Chemical cleaning is not recommended due to the nature of the chemical solutions used. These chemicals are dangerous, toxic, and can leave significant contamination on the grids after cleaning unless used exactly correctly.