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1. (WO2013149961) PARTICULATE CONTAMINATION MEASUREMENT METHOD AND APPARATUS
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CLAIMS

1. A particulate contamination measurement apparatus comprising a layer of polyurethane elastomer carried by a carrier, the carrier being configured to allow a measurement surface of the polyurethane elastomer to be pressed against a surface to be measured and then removed.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the measurement surface of the polyurethane elastomer is ultra-clean.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the polyurethane elastomer has a hardness which is below 80 Shore A.

4. The apparatus of any of claims 1 to 3, wherein the polyurethane elastomer has a hardness which is greater than 20 Shore 00, such as greater than 20 Shore A.

5. The apparatus of any of claims 1 to 4, wherein the polyurethane elastomer has a hardness in a range from 38 to 75 Shore A.

6. The apparatus of any of claims 1 to 5, wherein the measurement surface of the polyurethane elastomer has a roughness which is equal to or less than 1 micron Ra.

7. The apparatus of any of claims 1 to 6, wherein the carrier is a substrate which is provided with a hole, the measurement surface of the polyurethane elastomer being accessible through the hole.

8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the substrate is flexible.

9. The apparatus of claim 7 or 8 wherein the carrier has the shape and size of a credit card blank.

10. The apparatus of any of claims 7 to 9, wherein a flexible sheet material is provided on an opposite side of the polyurethane elastomer from the hole.

11. The apparatus of any of claims 1 to 6, wherein the carrier is a probe, the polyurethane elastomer being provided on an end of the probe.

12. A particulate contamination measurement apparatus comprising a flexible material which is more flexible than a metal surface such that a measurement surface of the flexible material will establish a greater contact area with a contamination particle than a contact area between the contamination particle and the metal surface, the flexible material being sufficiently strong that a residue will not be transferred from the measurement surface to the metal surface, the measurement surface being ultra- clean.

13. A particulate contamination measurement apparatus, comprising:

a material that is more flexible than a solid surface, such that a measurement surface of the material will establish a greater contact area with a contamination particle than a contact area between the contamination particle and the solid surface,

wherein the material is sufficiently strong so that a residue will not be transferred from the measurement surface to the solid surface, and

wherein the measurement surface is ultra-clean.

14. A sampler for acquiring removable particulate contamination from a solid surface comprising:

a carrier and a flexible material layer coupled to the carrier , the flexible material layer having an inner surface and an opposing outer surface, wherein the carrier is arranged to allow peeling of the flexible material layer from the solid surface, wherein the outer surface is a particle-collecting surface adapted to transfer removable particulate contamination from the solid surface to the outer surface upon contact, and wherein the flexible material layer leaves less than 2E-12 mbar/1 sec.*cm2 organic materials having a weight average molecular weight in a range from 44 to 100 g/mol onto the solid surface after contacting said solid surface, as determined by residual gas analysis.

15. The sampler according to claim 14 wherein the flexible material layer leaves less than 1.5E-13 mbar/sec.*cm2 organic materials having a weight average molecular weight in a range from 101 to 200 g/mol onto the solid surface after contacting said solid surface, as determined by residual gas analysis.

16. The sampler according to claim 14 or 15 wherein the flexible material layer leaves less than 0.1 atomic % of Pb, Zn, Sn, In, and Si as residue onto the solid surface and in the corresponding environment, after contacting said solid surface, as determined by XPS.

17. The sampler according to any one of claims 14 to 16, wherein the flexible material layer leaves less than 0.5 atomic percent of other elements than Pb, Zn, Sn, In, and Si as residue onto the solid surface and in the corresponding environment, after contacting said solid surface, as determined by XPS.

18. A sampler according to any one of claims 14 or 17 wherein flexible material layer has a hardness in a range from 20 to 80 Shore A, as determined with ASTM D2240 method.

19. A sampler for acquiring removable particulate contamination from a solid surface comprising: i) a carrier, and

ii) a polyurethane elastomer layer coupled to the carrier and having a hardness in a range from 20 to 80 Shore A,

the polyurethane elastomer layer having an inner surface and an opposing outer surface, wherein the carrier is arranged to allow peeling of the polyurethane elastomer from the solid surface,

wherein the outer surface of the polyurethane elastomer layer is a particle-collecting surface adapted to transfer removable particulate contamination from the first surface to the outer surface upon contact,

wherein the sampler is obtainable by a process comprising the following steps:

a) Preparing the polyurethane elastomer on a clean substrate under controlled conditions to obtain an ultra-clean polyurethane elastomer layer; b) Peeling off the ultra-clean polyurethane elastomer layer from the clean

substrate; and

c) Coupling the ultra-clean polyurethane elastomer layer to the carrier to form the sampler.

20. A sampler according to claim 19, wherein at least part of one or both of the sampler surface is covered with a removable protective foil, to protect the ultra-clean polyurethane elastomer layer from contamination.

21. A sampler according to claim 19 or 20, wherein the outer surface of the polyurethane elastomer layer being the particle-collecting surface has a roughness of about 10 times less than the mean average particle size.

22. A particulate contamination measurement method, comprising:

pressing a measurement surface of a polyurethane elastomer against a surface to be measured;

removing the polyurethane elastomer from the surface; and

detecting, using an optical apparatus, particles that have been removed by the polyurethane elastomer from the surface and that have become attached to the polyurethane elastomer.

23. The method of claim 22, wherein the polyurethane elastomer has a hardness which is below 80 Shore A.

24. The method of claim 22 or claim 23, wherein the polyurethane elastomer has a hardness which is greater than 20 Shore OO, such as greater than 20 Shore A.

25. The method of any preceding claim, wherein the measurement surface of the polyurethane elastomer has a roughness which is equal to or less than 1 micron Ra.

26. The method of any preceding claim, wherein the polyurethane elastomer is carried by a carrier.

27. The method of claim 26, wherein the carrier is a substrate which is provided with a hole, the measurement surface of the polyurethane elastomer being accessible through the hole.

28. The measurement method of claim 27, wherein the substrate is flexible.

29. The method of claim 26, wherein the carrier is a probe, the polyurethane elastomer being provided on an end of the probe.

30. The method of any preceding claim, wherein no residue is transferred from the polyurethane elastomer to the surface being measured.

31. A particulate contamination measurement method, comprising:

pressing a flexible material onto a metal surface to be measured, the flexible material being more soft than the metal surface such that it establishes a greater contact area with a contamination particle than a contact area between the contamination particle and the metal surface, the contamination particle therefore becoming attached to the flexible material, the flexible material being sufficiently strong that it does not leave a residue on the metal surface;

removing the material from the metal surface; and

detecting contamination particles that have been attached to the material using an optical apparatus.

32. A method for manufacturing a sampler for acquiring removable particulate contamination from a solid surface comprising:

i) a carrier, and

ii) a polyurethane elastomer layer coupled to the carrier and having a hardness in a range from 20 to 80 Shore A, the polyurethane elastomer layer having an inner surface and an opposing outer surface,

wherein the carrier is arranged to allow peeling of the polyurethane elastomer from the solid surface,

wherein the outer surface of the polyurethane elastomer layer is a particle-collecting surface adapted to transfer removable particulate contamination from the first surface to the outer surface upon contact, and

wherein the sampler is manufactured according to a process comprising the following steps:

a) Preparing the polyurethane elastomer on a clean substrate under controlled conditions to obtain an ultra-clean polyurethane elastomer layer;

b) Peeling off the ultra-clean polyurethane elastomer layer from the clean substrate; and

c) Coupling the ultra-clean polyurethane elastomer layer to the carrier to form a sampler.

33. A method according to claim 32, further comprising the step of covering at least part of one or both of the sampler surface with a removable protective foil, to protect the ultra-clean polyurethane elastomer layer from contamination.

34. A particulate contamination measurement apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 11 , wherein the polyurethane elastomer is arranged to be self-adhesive to the carrier.

35. A sampler according to any one of claims 14 to 21, wherein the flexible material layer is arranged to be self-adhesive to the carrier.