By Matin Durrani
Vacuum technology is big business these days, with companies in the sector producing advanced scientific equipment that is vital not only for academic research, but also for manufacturers in other industrial sectors.
In fact, one giant of the vacuum industry – Swedish firm Atlas Copco – bought its UK rival Edwards Vacuum for an eye-watering $1.5bn last year.
If you want to find out more about why Atlas Copco forked out so much cash, don’t miss the latest Physics World focus issue on vacuum technology, which includes an interview with Geert Follens, president of Atlas Copco’s newly created vacuum-solutions division. In the interview, Follens discusses the takeover in more detail and explains why he expects further strong growth in the vacuum market.
Elsewhere in the issue, you can read about a European Union project uniting academia and industry to improve vacuum metrology for production environments. Such efforts are vital even in the drinks industry, where the Van Pur brewery in Poland, for example, uses equipment from KHS Plasmax to coat the inside of bottles with an ultrathin layer of glass using plasma impulse chemical vapour deposition under vacuum.
On a more blue-sky note, the focus issue also looks at how vacuum technology will help Brazil’s new Sirius synchrotron to become one of the brightest X-ray sources in the world, as well as enabling researchers at CERN’s CLOUD experiment to probe the link between cosmic rays and cloud formation. In addition, researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the US explain how ultra-precise optical interferometers will consign the mercury manometer to history, while Romina Gotta of Agilent examines the state-of-the-art in pumping technoloogy.
Finally, we look at how organsisms can, bizarrely, survive being exposed to the vaccum in an electron microscope.
You can read the focus issue free of charge via the desktop or on any Apple device using the Physics World app, available from the App Store. (Please note that the new Android version from Google Play is not ready yet but will be available soon.)