The introduction of particles micro-accelerators in surface treatment.
The implantation of ions is a technology which is born in the big physic laboratories in the seventies. Many tests, carried out by the research teams, showed that it was possible to improve the mechanic and tribologic characteristics and the corrosion resistance of the implanted metals. Unfortunately, the size, several meter long, and the weight, until 2 tonnes, and the prohibitive prise of the needed equipments have been reducing its use in the industry.
While developing a new technology based on a cut-size particles micro-accelerator (30 cm, 10 kg), Ionics divides from a 10 factor the weight and the cluttering of the implanter. Moreover, the micro-implanter of Ionics, isn't limited to multi-loaded ions as the others known implanters. Ionics, by implantation of multi-loaded and multi-energy ions, considerably increase the interest of the implantation. Indeed, more the ion charge is high, more it penetrates the material deeply. The multi-loaded ions are uniformly spread on a 0 to 3 µm thickness. We can really speak about a x5 efficiency.
We also developed a “cold” metallurgy, economically and thus industrially interesting. This process develops a particles micro-accelerator. Seventeen patents, registered by Ionics, concern the equipment, the process, the gas choice, and the improvements given to the treated metals.
Ionics, thanks to its origin and its relationship with the research centres Ganil and CIMAP, is an expert in the ion-material interaction sector. This is shown through a perfect command of the ions production, their acceleration, their trajectory, and their proportions to achieve the required hardness or resistance to corrosion properties. The treatment depth fluctuates between 0 and 3 microns. It may seem to be weak, but the coat produced in this way, per re-alloy, amorphization, or nano-restructuring, has new characteristics in contact and resistance, which makes the comparing with existing process impossible. We are here in the nano-technologies sector, in which the modifications appear in cristallographic organisation, in the grains size or their orientation, the topology of the sliding plans. The process is distinguished from the depositing thanks to an impossible delamination, a graduated profile of the implanted gas and a minor demand of preparation for the piece to treat.
The obtained results are : a surface harness increased until 7 times, an oxidizing sensitiveness extremely reduced, by diffusion barrier effect, and a surface polishing which will improve the friction coefficient. Finally, the treatment is done at a cold temperature, which excludes the distortion of the treated materials.
In addition, the modification of the materials characteristics are such, that it is possible to envisage the substitution of expensive (not to say precious) metals, by others, far more usual.
Finally, this cold treatment is a safe technology : no rejection, no pollution, only a weak level of radiations, easily controllable, can be considered.