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Vacuum Systems Laboratory Development: Teaching More About Making Less

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.624.1 - 3.624.6

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David M. Hata

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1247

Vacuum Systems Laboratory Development: Teaching More About Making Less

David M. Hata Portland Community College


The implementation of new associate degree programs in semiconductor manufacturing at community colleges across the nation has created a critical need for vacuum technology courses and supporting laboratories. Unfortunately, few resources have been available to support technology-level courses in vacuum systems. This paper describes the results of a two-year project to develop a vacuum technology course, implement a vacuum systems laboratory, and provide faculty enhancement activities.


Vacuum systems are used in virtually every functional area of a wafer fab to create the proper processing environments for semiconductor manufacturing processes. Because of the pervasive of vacuum technology in the wafer fab, most two-year, associate degree curricula require at least one course in vacuum technology. Unfortunately, support for technology level courses in this area are lacking in terms of textbooks, vacuum training systems, and laboratory manuals.

In 1995, Portland Community College, with funding from the National Science Founda- tion, began development of a generic vacuum technology course and supporting labora- tory.1 A team of community college faculty and industry experts was formed and the team was charged with the task of developing a vacuum technology course, complete with laboratory.

The course content was delineated without much difficulty. Using available resource materials,2,3 the development team recommended that the course begin with a review of gas laws from chemistry and then progress from rough vacuum to high and ultra-high vacuum regimes, examining the underlying gas dynamics, pumping methods, and pres- sure measurement techniques. The team also recommended that advanced topics, such as leak detection and gas analysis using RGA’s, complete the course of study.

The more difficult issue was definition of the laboratory portion of the course. Research had shown that community college that had developed their own vacuum technology courses supported these courses with custom-built training systems, assembled out of do- nated and salvaged vacuum components. This development was usually the result of the work of one “expert” faculty member. The development team rejected this approach

Hata, D. M. (1998, June), Vacuum Systems Laboratory Development: Teaching More About Making Less Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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