Completed Vacuum System on Flickr.
Hey look, its a fully functional vacuum system!
What does that mean? That means that the turbo-pump and the backing pump have their own lines into the chamber. The chamber can be roughed, then switched over to turbopump control if needed.
So what’s the plan from here? The plan is to develop two beamlines. The first beamline will use a cold cathode emission system which operates at low pressures and uses the residual air in the chamber and a HV DC source to form a plasma from which electrons are harvested and injected down into the optical system.
The second beamline will be a standard thermionic emitter using a tungsten hairpin filament and a high current DC source. The downside of this is that the system needs to be running at high vacuum which means turbopump. Turbopumps are nice, but they are not hackable. We can’t go get one for less than the price of the entire completed system, and that’s just not the point!