Surface modification has turned into an independent branch of science and
engineering, which underlines the importance of investigating the surface state and processes for
its modification. The major aim of surface treatment of metallic materials is to homogenize the
chemical and phase composition in the near-surface layer. Even though classified as single-phase ones,
the materials frequently contain microscopic inclusions of the secondary phases that are unavoidable
non-metallic impurities appearing in the material in the course of its production. This is
strongly undesirable, because these inhomogeneities give rise to corrosion when it comes to
operation of tools made from them under aggressive environments, or cause breakdown when the
latter are used as components of high-voltage electro-vacuum devices.
An irradiation of materials by intense pulsed electron beam on the RITM machine
causes melting of a thin surface layer, followed by partial evaporation and dissolution of
the inclusions present in the heating area. Surface layer homogenization occurs as a result
of removal of the secondary-phase precipitates. In addition, the surface tension forces smooth
the surface, thus decreasing its roughness. The figure below depicts the process diagram.