What are some common ways that I can vaporize Metals into a vacuum chamber? How can I keep these Metals in a gaseous state?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There is a whole science dedicated to doing this , it's called vapor deposition or vacuum metallization. The equipment for doing it is very specialized and expensive, I hope you have a lot of money ! :-) $\endgroup$ – William Hird Sep 23 '18 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ What amounts of metal? Why does it need to stay vaporized? For how long? $\endgroup$ – Jeffrey J Weimer Sep 24 '18 at 23:33
  • $\begingroup$ A few grams of metal need to be vaporized but only in micrograms amounts at once. It needs to be deposited in thick layers on another surface (electroplating wont work for what I need) and it only needs to be vaporized for as long as it is necessary to deposited on the other material. $\endgroup$ – user17599 Sep 25 '18 at 0:52
  • $\begingroup$ What is "thick"? At some point, this may be a job for a professional-level system. $\endgroup$ – Jeffrey J Weimer Sep 25 '18 at 3:27
  • $\begingroup$ Its thickness is ~1.2 millimeters. $\endgroup$ – user17599 Sep 25 '18 at 3:47

The easiest way to vaporize a metal is to create a filament of the metal. Heat the filament in the vacuum to its sublimation (vaporization) temperature. Alternatively, when the metal cannot be shaped into a filament, the metal can be encased in or painted on a "wrapper" metal. Commercial evaporators for alkali metals are designed this way. The wrapper is a thin tungsten foil encasing the alkali and having a small slit or hole in it. Heat the wrapper, and the alkali evaporates.

As to keeping a metal as a vapor, consider how to confine a metal within chamber walls AND keep it as a gas. When the walls are colder than the sublimation temperature of the metal, the instant the metal gas hits the walls, it will condense. So, as already noted, the chamber walls will have to be at least as hot as the sublimation temperature of the metal itself, if not hotter.

An alternative method to keep metal "gaseous" is to ionize the metal immediately as or immediately after it is vaporized. The metal ions can be confined within a magnetic field.

The methods to vaporize metals are relatively cost effective, well-documented, and reliable for small amounts of material. Vaporizing more than nano-gram amounts of metal heads to expensive, professional-level designs. The principles remain the same.


vaporizing metal in a near-vacuum is a straightforward process; the simplest method is called sputtering and is one specific method of vacuum metallization as noted by William Hird above.

Keeping a vaporized metal in a gaseous state for more than a few milliseconds is a different proposition, however. For that you would need a furnace with tremendous power and extremely good insulation surrounding it.

  • $\begingroup$ And the vacuum.... $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Sep 24 '18 at 5:10
  • $\begingroup$ Alternatively, you need a rarified gas state and/or the equivalent of a vacuum chamber that is big enough in dimension so as to avoid particle-particle and wall-particle collisions in the time desired to keep the particles as a gas. $\endgroup$ – Jeffrey J Weimer Sep 24 '18 at 23:39
  • $\begingroup$ And vacuum arc remelt; that is how titanium metal is produced . $\endgroup$ – blacksmith37 Sep 25 '18 at 13:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.