Main Vacuum Chamber

The SAFIRE chamber had humble beginnings – a small bell jar crammed with instruments, most of which became burned or broken as we pushed the limits of each component. The current chamber has a footprint of several square meters. The vacuum ranges from 10-8 to 1.0 atmospheres. State of the art gas input systems allow control over the atmosphere gas composition, as well as elemental and molecular species introduced into the chamber.

Power Supply and Electrodes

A custom built power supply encompasses discharge regimes from the pedestrian up to the unpredictable. Current and voltage are separately controlled. Multiple fail safes are in place to protect the system from unforeseen results that inevitably arise. The chamber is designed to accommodate a very wide variety of anode and cathode materials and geometries. In the early days of SAFIRE the team realized that geometry and material choices had an enormous effect on the discharge phenomena. The experimental platform is designed for maximum flexibility.


The SAFIRE chamber provides unparalleled diagnostics. Light spectroscopy in IR-Vis-UV, mass spectrometry, Langmuir probe data, and 3D magnetic field strength can be gathered from any point of the chamber, gathered along predetermined paths through the chamber, gathered from multiple locations simultaneously, and gathered with millisecond resolution. Pressure, voltage and current are measured to the nanosecond. Optical video cameras capture images with HD millisecond resolution. A wide range of radio frequency are captured with directional resolution. All data inputs are synchronized to 10-9 seconds. Before-and-after elemental analysis of samples is done offsite.