12405B20Q0147 – Sources Sought – Leica EM ACE200 Sputter Coater

Sep 2, 2020 | Sources Sought

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service, is requesting information regarding the capability to provide a Leica EM ACE200 Sputter Coater with the following:

· Complete process automation: no needle valves to adjust or manipulation of the instrument during processing. Just type in protocol parameters on the touch screen and press “START”

· Metal sputtering and Carbon thread can be used in the same unit. Internal shielding and stage can be exchanged to prevent cross contamination between metal sputtering and carbon thread protocols

· Optional stage (8 cm in diameter) rotation allows for more homogenous layering of either carbon or sputtered metal onto the desired sample

· Pre-set and programmed protocols and/or flexible parameter change(s) if desired

· External oil based 2 stage rotary vane pump.

· Automatic shutter

· Automatic degassing

· Automatic pre-sputtering of sample based on metal composition

· Integrated automatic software tooling factor calculates exact film thickness in the event the sample height is not flush with the optional film thickness monitor

· Automatic instrument pause at 65°C if the metal sputter or carbon thread head get too hot during thick layering (coating) of samples. Automatic continuation of the process when the head cools to 45°C.

· Optional stage rotation with selectable variable speed

· Manual height adjustment of sample stage possible

· All parameters can be saved in an excel log file; data can be transferred via USB; instrument software upgrades are done via USB

· Small footprint which saves lab space – only 30 cm wide

· Standard 110 volt AC electrical connection

· Large 8 cm diameter stage for multiple samples (holds 18 standard SEM stubs)

· Intuitive touch screen for programming of desired coating parameters. Easy to use and easy to store protocols for future use. No intensive training required.

· Auto vent of chamber if desired. Auto pump of chamber if desired

Auto purge with purge selection number if desired

· Multiple carbon thread evaporation runs possible without having to re-thread the head for each run (~30 mm of useable carbon thread in the head without exchange)

· Carbon pulsation or flash with accurate film thickness reading

· Easy sample access and loading via the front door

· Easy stage removal via a click system on the stage?

· Easy cleaning of chamber with an internal removable inner shield and outer glass front door

· Easy push fit connectors on both the metal sputtering and carbon thread heads. Easy exchange of both heads without tools

· Variety of stages available – basic included, optional planetary, optional glass slide holder

· Metal vacuum chamber and metal vacuum hose for quicker vacuum pump down. No glass chamber which can disrupt vacuum, create a vacuum leak or break during cleaning.

· Optional film thickness monitor (film thickness measurement offers reproducible results)

· Automatic process termination with timer and/or via optional film thickness monitor

· Vacuum (at least 7×10-3mbar).

· Multiple (software and hardware) safety interlocks for the protection of the user

· Applications possible: Single Metal Sputtering and/or Carbon Thread Evaporation

This is not a request for proposals, but instead market research to determine interested vendors prior to issuing a solicitation. Pricing information provided is for estimation purposes only. A determination by the Government on the method of competing this requirement has not been established. The Government will not award a contract based on this Sources Sought Notice or the information received, nor will it reimburse participants for the information they provide. If you are an interested vendor, please provide the following information: 1) Business name and point of contact; 2) DUNS number and CAGE code; 3) business size; and 4) a brief statement of Capability (no more than three pages) which demonstrates the ability to meet the specialized work requirements above. Include any past performance information on contracts of similar size and scope. Electronic responses are preferred. Information provided will not be used as a part of any subsequent solicitation requirement. Interested sources who submit data are responsible for appropriately marking information if it is proprietary in nature. A determination by the Government not to compete this proposed contract action based on this notice is solely within the discretion of the Government.

Responses are due no later than 2:00 p.m., Central Time, on Friday, September 4, 2020, to the attention of Jessica Pacheco, Contract Specialist, via e-mail to jessica.pacheco@usda.gov.

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