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Method and apparatus for measuring purity of noble gases

United States Patent

April 1, 2008
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
A device for detecting impurities in a noble gas includes a detection chamber and a source of pulsed ultraviolet light. The pulse of the ultraviolet light is transferred into the detection chamber and onto a photocathode, thereby emitting a cloud of free electrons into the noble gas within the detection chamber. The cloud of electrons is attracted to the opposite end of the detection chamber by a high positive voltage potential at that end and focused onto a sensing anode. If there are impurities in the noble gas, some or all of the electrons within the cloud will bond with the impurity molecules and not reach the sensing anode. Therefore, measuring a lower signal at the sensing anode indicates a higher level of impurities while sensing a higher signal indicates fewer impurities. Impurities in the range of one part per billion can be measured by this device.
Austin; Robert (Largo, FL)
Constellation Technology Corporation (Largo, FL)
11/ 350,240
February 8, 2006
This invention was made with U.S. Government support under contract or grant DE-FG02-04-ER83927 awarded by the Department of Energy. The U.S. Government has certain rights in the invention.