A miniature piezo electric vacuum inlet valve having a fast pulse rate and is battery operated with variable flow capability. The low power (<1.6 watts), high pulse rate (<2 milliseconds), variable flow inlet valve is utilized for mass spectroscopic applications or other applications where pulsed or continuous flow conditions are needed. The inlet valve also has a very minimal dead volume of less than 0.01 std/cc. The valve can utilize, for example, a 12 Vdc input/750 Vdc, 3 mA output power supply compared to conventional piezo electric valves which require preloading of the crystal drive mechanism and 120 Vac, thus the valve of the present invention is smaller by a factor of three.
The U.S. Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.