High-energy processes are relatively new surface treatment methods. They can alter the properties of surfaces without changing the dimension of the surfaces. Common high-energy processes, including electron beam treatment, ion implantation, and laser beam treatment, are briefly discussed as follows:
Electron Beam Treatment: Electron beam treatment alters the surface properties by rapid heating using electron beam and rapid cooling in the order of 106 ºC/sec (106 ºF/sec) in a very shallow region, 100 µm (.004 in), near the surface. This technique can also be used in hardfacing to produce "surface alloys".
Ion Implantation: Ion implantation uses electron beam or plasma to impinge gas atoms to ions with sufficient energy, and embed these ions into atomic lattice of the substrate, accelerated by magnetic coils in a vacuum chamber. The mismatch between ion implant and the surface of a metal creates atomic defects that hardens the surface.
Laser Beam Treatment: Similar to electron beam treatment, laser beam treatment alters the surface properties by rapid heating and rapid in a very shallow region near the surface. It can also be used in hardfacing to produce "surface alloys".
The results of high-energy processes are not well known or very well controlled. But the preliminary results look promising. Further development is needed in high-energy processes, especially in implant dosages and treatment methods.