Future Trends

Commercial ion implantation processing is presently a service business directed toward high-value components whose lifetime extension warrants the processing costs. The largest markets are presently orthopedic devices and specialized tooling. However, a growing body of research and develoment workers are exploring the PIII process because of the attractive scaleup possibilities for large objects with complicated shapes. The ongoing development of high-current, heavy ion sources is also expected to open up new process applications. These include both high-temperature, versatile heavy ion sources (Ref 10) and MEVVA sources (Ref 15, 16) for applications not requiring mass analysis. The potential for scaleup must continue to be guided by the intrinsic depth limitations of this technique, which will proscribe applications subject to severe abrasion or erosion.

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