20 Jun 2013

Ion Beam Implantation

From Our Changing World, 9:20 pm on 20 June 2013

Ion implantation rescue knife and scabbard

A titanium rescue knife and scabbard. Both have been coated using ion implantation.

Unlike gases which have large spaces between atoms, solids are generally thought to have atoms that are tightly bound together. But at GNS Science in Gracefield, just out of Wellington, ion beams are being used to force atoms into solid materials.

This process, called ion implantation, changes the properties of the solid, for example making the target harder, or more compatible with the human body.

Ruth Beran meets John Futter to see some of the projects being worked on, including laser sintered (3D printed) titanium rescue knives which have been made incredibly strong using ion implantation.