Vacuum Compatibility of Boron404X / B404X / Photon2 / P2?

Hello All!

I am hoping to use one of the above chips in a vacuum chamber, and am running into difficulty accessing the compatibility of the chips with high vacuums (in my case, as high as 10^-9 Torr). Anybody have experience with trying to make one of these vacuum compatible, or a similar chip? Any knowledge on whether the materials offer any inherent resistance?

Particle devices are not tested for use in a vacuum.

That's not to stay that they may not work, however because all of the devices have components with RF shielding my guess is that rate of pressure change could be a factor as well. Also, depending on the material the chamber is made from, whether it will affect the RF performance of the radios.

Thanks for getting back! Would you be able to speak any more to what you mean about the RF shielding being a factor?

Yes, we are unfortunately having to account for dimished RF performance... solutions are still developing for us :slight_smile:

There are metal RF shields on the devices. They are not sealed, but they are soldered to the circuit boards fairly tightly. I can imagine a scenario where if the pressure changed very quickly the pressure under the shield could differ for a short period of time until the pressure equalized. I don't really think this will be a problem, but it's something to at least briefly consider.

For example, on the Photon 1 if the shield deflected toward the circuit board, the device would reset. I've never heard of this happening from air pressure, but it would happen if you pressed on it. The shields on newer devices are much thicker metal and should be fine, but that's what I was thinking of.

The other things to consider here are:

  1. The shielding characteristics of the chamber you are using: it is mostly likely predominantly or completely made of metal, which means it will be a faraday cage and RF signals (like cell service) will be very limited in their ability to penetrate the chamber. It is very likely there is no signal available in such an apparatus.
  2. Heat. It is likely the modules will heat up significantly — potentially to the point of failure — in a vacuum, as there is no air available for convection cooling.

In general, this is not a recommended approach to using our devices and you're better off with some remote instrumentation using cables.


I agree w/ the Heat.
At one-trillionth of an atmosphere, finding an air molecule for cooling is going to be hard :slight_smile:

I bet there is an interesting story behind this project. Neat stuff !

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