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.