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Formation of surface alloys

   A surface alloy is formed by alternate deposition of nanofilms onto an article under treatment and by subsequent liquid-phase mixing of the deposited nanofilm and substrate with an intense pulsed electron beam. Both deposition and mixing take place within a single vacuum cycle. As concerns its functional characteristics, the surface alloy is a coating having the required properties that essentially improve the service performance of the articles and tools. There is, nevertheless, a critical difference between a coating and surface alloy, namely, the latter has no interface with the substrate. The surface layer of a predetermined chemical composition is found to be fused into the substrate. Thus in this case, there is no distinct coating or substrate but rather a single conglomeration composed of the substrate material gradually "transforming" into the surface.