A thin flange for insertion between two ultra-high vacuum flanges includes opposing, parallel sealing surfaces. The sealing surfaces can be surrounded by mounting surfaces having mounting holes therein alignable with holes in the flanges. Forces applied by bolts inserted through the aligned holes are distributed by the flanges so that the thin flange is subjected only to symmetric, compressive forces. Since no deforming forces are applied to the thin flange, the thickness of the thin flange can be less than previously attained, and can be less than 15% of its diameter, or even less than 6.5%. The thickness of the thin flange can be less than 0.28 inches or less than 0.16 inches. Knife edges on the sealing surfaces pressed against soft metal gaskets can form vacuum seals. The thin flange can include a feature such as an inward-facing mounting groove, a threaded mounting bore, and/or an electrical feed-through.
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