Joining, structuring, engraving and polishing...electrons in the medical sector
The ability to join materials like stainless steel, titanium, gold and the complex to weld shape memory alloys (Nitinol) in some cases even one to another is unique . The quality of joints can be observed at any time with the scanning electron microscope mode (SEM).
The very fine beam of down to 30 microns allows for delicate welds as shown in the example below.
To increase the acceptance of implants it is state of the art to use a surface modification like glas bead blasting. The big advantage of an electron beam structured surface is the possibility to generate structures with defined dimensions. With the ability of a high frequency beam deflection hundreds of these microstructures can be generated in a few seconds. One possibility is SurfiSculpt® which is shown in the pictures below.
Surfi-Sculpt was invented by Bruce Dance at TWI in 2002, and has been the subject of on-going research and development. TWI has obtained granted patents for this technology in Europe, USA, Japan and a number of other countries (EP1387734, EP1551590, US6670571, US7667158 & others).
Engraving and polishing
If a surface roughness of just a few microns or smoothening of edges is needed, the electron beam can be used for polishing. This technique is available for every metal surface and can be done in a few seconds.