Education & Outreach > Short Courses > Short Course Catalog > Vacuum & Equipment Technology > Vacuum System Leak Detection and Basic Troubleshooting

Vacuum System Leak Detection and Basic Troubleshooting

Vacuum System Leak Detection and Basic Troubleshooting

Course Objectives

  • Real vs virtual leaks
  • Leak rate specifications
  • Different leak detection methods
  • How a mass spectrometer leak detector works
  • Care and feeding of a mass spectrometer leak detector
  • Basic ways to use a mass spectrometer leak detector
  • What to do when a leak is found
  • Possible steps when a system passes leak test but has sub-par performance
  • Sources of gas that can affect vacuum system performance
  • Ways to mitigate gas sources

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the technology and practice of leak detection. It includes a discussion of the types of leaks that are to be expected in vacuum systems and how they affect the leakage rate. The principles of leak detection and the methods of putting these principles into practice are described. Practical techniques for detecting and locating leaks are provided with special attention to making the most effective use of the mass spectrometer leak detector.

Also covered in detail are the various ways in which mass spectrometer leak detectors can be connected to vacuum systems and their effects on obtaining satisfactory results from the test procedures. A method of verifying the effectiveness of the leak detection system before starting a test is described. The use of a residual gas analyzer (RGA), a partial pressure gauge, in detecting leaks and analyzing vacuum system difficulties is also discussed.

Course Materials

Course Notes

Online Costs:

$350 – AVS Platinum Member
$400 – AVS Gold/Silver Member
$400 – Non-Member
$200 – Full Time Student

Course Cost: $690

Who should attend?

This course is for anyone wanting more familiarity about leak detection, with an emphasis on using a helium mass spectrometer leak detector.  This will be a basic introduction from a user’s point of view, without large amounts of math or theory.  It will be useful to technicians, maintenance or service personnel, engineers specifying leak rates, managers or anyone interested in leak detection.  In addition, other possible gas sources besides the ingress of gas through a leak that can impact vacuum system performance will be discussed.   Initial suggestions and considerations for further trouble shooting will be introduced.


Tim Gessert
Managing Member, Gessert Consulting, LLC

Neil Peacock
Consultant, Pine Place Consulting, LLC