Ion Surface Engineering

Ion Surface Engineering Southwest Research Institute San Antonio, Texas Southwest Research Institute Founded in 1947 as an independent, nonprofit research and development organization,
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Ion Surface Engineering Southwest Research Institute San Antonio, Texas Southwest Research Institute Founded in 1947 as an independent, nonprofit research and development organization, Southwest Research Institute provides a significant research, engineering, and testing resource for industry, business, and government. The Institute uses a multidisciplinary, integrated approach to solve complex problems in science and applied technology. The ion surface engineering program at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI ) is dedicated to the practical treatment of materials and components using energetic ions. SwRI scientists utilize ion beams and plasmas to treat material surfaces to increase their resistance to corrosion, wear, fatigue failure, fretting, and oxidation or to add functionality such as sensing, actuation, and hydrophobicity. Institute staff members, with more than 35 years of experience in surface modification of advanced materials, have pioneered research in many aspects of these technologies. The Institute s ion surface engineering activities have supported aerospace, biomedical, energy, transportation, and tool and die industries. SwRI has also served government agencies such as the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. SwRI s ion surface engineering activities include: About the Cover: A high-intensity ion beam bombards a series of cutting tools in the SwRI ion beam facility. Thin-film materials research New process development Proof-of-concept demonstrations Pilot- to medium-scale production Specialized vacuum processes design and development in client facilities 2004 Southwest Research Institute. All rights reserved. Southwest Research Institute and SwRI are registered marks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. All programs remain confidential. As part of a long-held tradition, intellectual property rights arising from sponsored research at the Institute are often assigned to the client. SwRI generally retains the rights to Institutefunded advancements. An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer Committed to Diversity in the Workplace Ion Beam Facilities The Institute operates and maintains seven vacuum chambers that are among the world s largest and most unique facilities for modifying material surfaces. These systems allow surface modification of large tools and components or numerous smaller items. Projects range from small-batch, single-day processing jobs to long-term research and development studies. Specific facilities include: 2.0-cubic meter system for broad-beam ion implantation and ion beam-assisted deposition (IBAD) 2.0-cubic meter chamber used for novel alloy and transparent conductive oxide films 2.7-cubic meter system for non-line-of-sight treatment using plasma-based methods 1.0-cubic meter chamber for IBAD of specialized multilayer films for optical thin films 1.5-cubic meter roll coater for treating flexible metal and polymer sheet materials 1.0-cubic meter chamber for multilayer and nanocomposite film development 0.5-cubic meter chamber for use with novel plasma nitriding techniques D The SwRI ion beam facility provides ion implantation and ion beam-assisted deposition processes that improve surface properties. SwRI has state-of-the-art equipment in place and technical personnel dedicated to facilitating access to research, development, and demonstration of PIII and PIIP technologies. DE135965 Ion Beam Processing The semiconductor industry has fabricated integrated circuits using ion beam processing for decades. SwRI has expanded and adapted the use of ion beams for a broad range of materials and applications. Unlike conventional surface treatments such as plating or vapor deposition, many ion beam processes alter surface properties of a component without changing its dimension or surface finish. Specific processes include: Ion implantation Ion beam texturing and sputtering High-intensity ion nitriding Many of these processes can be carried out at temperatures lower than 150 C, eliminating thermal distortion or tempering. Ion beam processing has been used to modify: SwRI scientists have investigated a variety of materials, including: Metals (tool steels, hard chrome, and Ti, Al, and Ni alloys) Ceramics (SiC, carbides, and TiN) Polymers (nylons, polyethylene, and polytetrafluoroethylene [PTFE]) Ion beam processing can aid in applications such as: Injection molds Forming dies and punches Extremely sharp cutting tools Microelectronics and electro-optics Food-processing equipment Surface hardness Friction and wear resistance Fatigue life Corrosion and oxidation resistance Surface texture and wettability Institute facilities include a variety of ion sources to supply: Gaseous species from H to Kr High-energy ions at 30 to 100 kev, 65 ma Medium-energy ions at 1 to 10 kev, 100 ma Low-energy ions at 0.1 to 1.5 kev, 300 ma Beams up to 50 centimeters in diameter E A high-energy plasma bucket ion source provides a high-current, largediameter beam that permits nitrogen ion implantation of areas up to four square feet. Mold cavities used in forming glass- or mineralfilled materials can have their life extended as much as tenfold using ion implantation. D014239 Vacuum Coating S wri uses a broad range of physical vapor deposition processes, including electron beam evaporation, magnetron sputtering, and ion beamassisted deposition. Different chambers can be configured with multiple electron beam hearths, magnetron sputter guns, and ion sources. Scientists have performed research and development in areas such as: Functionally graded coatings Nanocomposite coatings Corrosion- and oxidation-resistant coatings Tribological coatings for challenging environments Multilayer and superlattice optical and electronic coatings SwRI has demonstrated experience with a variety of materials, including: The Institute has explored a variety of application areas, including: Environmentally acceptable alternatives to electroplated chromium and cadmium Scratch-resistant and transparent conductive coatings for plastics Magnetic multilayer coatings for sensors Transparent conductive oxides for flat-panel displays Hydrophobic/hydrophilic and barrier coatings Substrate Mixed layer Newly formed coating Ceramics, such as Ta2O5, Al2O3, TiO2, and SiO2 Metals, such as Pt, Au, Ag, Ni, Cr, Ti, and Ta Others, such as ITO, a-sin, and a-c:h Ion beam Vapor Ion gun D D e- Evaporator D In IBAD, an ion source is used to deposit dense, low-stress coatings with improved adhesion. SwRI scientists are developing novel coatings for erosion and corrosion protection and for solid lubrication applications. SwRI engineers coat specialized valves used in the nuclear power industry with platinum to resist oxidation in extreme environments. Large-Area Plasma Processing Building on established capabilities in ion beam surface modification, SwRI has implemented plasma immersion ion implantation (PIII) and plasma immersion ion deposition (PIID). Both techniques allow non-line-of-sight ion implantation and coating of materials with higher throughput and at a potentially lower cost. D PIII and PIID use a high-voltage power supply to generate large-area pulsed radio frequency or glow discharge plasmas that totally surround the treated components. Advantages of these methods include: Single-batch treatment of several square meters surface area Low processing temperatures of less than 150 C Part manipulation not required Batch processing times of 2 to 8 hours Internal surface treatment possible Plasmas generated from a variety of gases and organic precursors Ability to generate metal plasmas (in development) Large vacuum chambers permit large numbers of components to be treated simultaneously, significantly reducing treatment cost per part. Shown in this PIID chamber (1.3 meters diameter by 2.6 meters long) are approximately 40 metal embossing tools during processing. D DM04502 The large-area, non-line-of-sight PIIP process promises several advantages over conventional vacuum-coating processes including higher throughput (at lower cost), reduced component heating, and the ability to treat external surfaces simultaneously without manipulation. Precision-tempered steel bearings generally cannot be coated because even very thin layers of coating may result in unacceptable dimension and surface finish changes. SwRI has evaluated the use of carbon ion implantation using PIII in bearing steels to improve wear and corrosion resistance. Diamond-like Carbon Coating SwRI scientists have used ion beam- and plasma-based processes to deposit coatings of diamond-like carbon (DLC). These DLC films possess many diamond-like properties including low friction, high hardness, and chemical inertness. Specific DLC properties include: Microhardness: 8 to 25 GPa Friction coefficient: Less than 0.1 under dry sliding conditions (humidity up to 80 percent) Compressive stress: 50 to 2,000 MPa Adhesion to metals: Excellent with interlayer or other pretreatments Deposition temperature: Less than 150 C Hydrogen content: 15 to 35 atomic percent Electrical resistivity: Controllable from 1.0 to ohm cm SwRI scientists have evaluated DLC in areas such as: Friction and wear coatings for pump components Release coatings for compression and injection molds Protective coatings for resistance to chemical attack D D Using the PIID process, SwRI staff have deposited DLC coatings on the inner surfaces of tubes up to 70-centimeters long and as narrow as 2 centimeters in diameter. D Institute staff have applied DLC coatings to small caliber weapons to reduce wear caused by sliding mechanisms and minimize reflectance. Institute scientists coat several components with DLC in a single batch in one of the large vacuum chambers at SwRI. Web Processing of Materials SwRI maintains a versatile system for pilot-scale vacuum coating and surface treatment of flexible polymeric and metallic materials in roll form. Key attributes of the system include: Dual electron beam and magnetron sputtering for simultaneous or sequential deposition Integrated linear ion source for web cleaning, surface activation, or texturing Fully automated closed-loop control of all pump-down, web-handling, and treatment processes Fast pumping times for rapid material turnaround Processing of rolls up to 12 inches wide and 15 inches in diameter (approximately 1,000 feet long) at speeds up to 30 feet per minute This resource can be used to address client needs in areas such as: Thermal, chemical, and vapor barrier coatings Flexible electronic circuits Integrated device structures such as photovoltaics, batteries, and ultracapacitors Nanostructured surfaces including High surface areas Catalysis Electrostatic discharge coating Transparent conductive oxides D As part of a Department of Energy-sponsored program, Institute scientists catalyzed fuel cell electrode materials with noble metals such as platinum. SwRI has established a pilot-scale vacuum web-coating system for treating a variety of flexible materials in roll form. 1M139151 Biomedical Applications Asignificant focus of the Institute s surface engineering work is related to medical device applications. Working with SwRI s bioengineering group, Institute scientists can conduct biomedical projects in accordance with a quality system for medical device development that is compliant with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration s Quality System Regulation. D Areas of interest for ion implantation and plasma nitriding include: High-intensity plasma ion nitriding of metal alloys for wear-resistant orthopedics Improved cutting performance of ultra-sharp surgical tools Implantation of bioactive ceramics Implantation of radioactive tracers for precision measurement of polyethylene wear SwRI scientists have also used vacuum coatings for a number of applications including: Radioactive coatings for brachytherapy Radiopaque coatings for stents Corrosion-resistant coatings for implantable devices Titanium coatings for enhanced osseointegration D Institute staff members have developed a high-intensity plasma ion nitriding process capable of producing a hard, wear-resistant case more than 5 micrometers thick on Ti and CoCrMo alloys. Diamond-like carbon, a highly biocompatible and blood-compatible material, might be as nonclotting as pyrolytic carbon. DLC biomedical applications include: Cardiovascular pumps Catheters Surgical seals Stents SwRI has also developed a novel silver-doped DLC with significant potential to reduce device-related infection. Key aspects of this coating include: Reduced potential for tissue irritation in comparison to solid silver coating Improved adhesion to a wide variety of polymers Additional resistance to bacterial adhesion with DLC Ability to tailor color and reflectivity SwRI has applied radioactive coatings to implantable medical devices to accelerate the formation of scar tissue. Transportation Applications Noted for its work in the automotive and transportation fields, the Institute develops surface treatments on components to reduce friction and wear. Areas of development for automotive applications include: Fuel pump and injector components Valve train components Piston pins and skirts Water pump seals Work for the aerospace industry includes: Wear and corrosion treatments for bearing and gears Coatings for hydraulic actuators and seals Wear and diffusion barriers for turbine blades and disks D DLC-coated gear may improve service life in challenging lubrication conditions. D D Because of increasing use of low-sulfur fuels, DLC-coated fuel pump components are of interest to automotive component manufacturers. Institute scientists coat titanium-alloy connecting rods and other components to reduce wear and galling, particularly in high-performance vehicles. D SwRI staff members are investigating alternatives to thin, dense chrome to improve corrosion resistance of hydraulic components such as this ball screw actuator. Energy Applications Using novel vacuum coating and surface treatment processes, SwRI scientists are involved in various aspects of energy production and storage. Areas of interest include: D Fuel cells Corrosion- and oxidation-resistant materials for solid oxide fuel cells Catalytic coatings for polymer electrolyte fuel cells Hydrogen production Photochemical generation of hydrogen Ultra-thin metal membranes for hydrogen purification Thin-film devices Coated fibers and planar structures for energy production and storage Remote wireless sensors for demanding environments, such as gas turbine engines and coal-fired reactors Thin-film components of an all solid-state battery can be applied directly to structural components, such as the curved surface of a ceramic fiber. D D D LSF cathode FeCrAIY Interconnect SwRI has developed a free-standing palladium alloy membrane for hydrogen separation using vacuum-deposition methods. Shown here is a membrane sandwiched between metal screens. SwRI scientists are engineering stable surface layers on metal interconnects for high-temperature solid oxide fuel cells. (Left) scanning electron micrograph; (Right) aluminum map (white layer is conductive aluminum oxide) of cathode/interconnect interface. Southwest Research Institute is an independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization using multidisciplinary approaches to problem solving. The Institute occupies 1,200 acres and provides nearly two million square feet of laboratories, test facilities, workshops, and offices for more than 2,800 employees who perform contract work for industry and government clients. We welcome your inquiries. For more information, please contact: Dr. Kent E. Coulter, Manager Surface Engineering Section Mechanical and Materials Engineering Division Southwest Research Institute 6220 Culebra Road P.O. Drawer San Antonio, Texas (210) Fax: (210) SwRI Web Site: Web Site: DE JCN SwRI Business Development San Antonio, Texas (210) Fax: (210)
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