Leak finder for vacuum systems is explained and demonstrated in this short video. All you need is a spectrometer tuned for helium and a tank of helium. In order to find the leak, you need to expose the vacuum system locally to helium. If a leak is present then the gas is sucked inside and pumped out into the mass spectrometer. The beeping noise immediately alerts the user if helium has reached the spectrometer and the leak is found. The most common places for leaks are usually at the connections of the vacuum systems parts.
The quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS) is used to detect and measure the abundance of gas phase ions. These ions have to pass between electrically connected rods in order to reach the detector. By combining alternating and direct voltage on these rods, it is possible to ensure that only ions with specific mass-to-charge ratio are capable of reaching the detector.
Vacuum can be understood as space from where matter (for example air) has been removed. It naturally exists in outer space but for certain applications, like materials characterization techniques, it needs to be achieved artificially. The desired level of vacuum is obtained with the help of a suitable vacuum pump. For example low vacuum (low quality vacuum with higher pressure) can be generated with a diffusion pump, scroll compressor pump, rotary vane pump, diaphragm pump or a sorption pump. High vacuum (high quality vacuum with very low pressures) however, can be obtained with high vacuum pumps such as the turbomolecular pump, ion pump, titanium sublimation pump and cryopump. The level of vacuum is measured with devices called vacuum gauges (vacuum meters) like the thermocouple gauge, pirani gauge, penning ionization gauge and the quadrupole mass spectrometer (analyzer). The working principle of vacuum pumps and vacuum gauges is explained with 3D animations in the video lecture above.