Gas Cluster Ion Beam (GCIB)
NanoAccel’s platform technology employs a technology known as gas cluster ion beam (GCIB). Pressurized argon gas, used due to its inert properties, is expanded through a small nozzle into vacuum to form a beam of gas clusters. Each cluster is comprised of several hundred to a few thousand weakly bound atoms. The clusters are caused to become electrically charged and they are then accelerated by high potentials of up to several tens of thousands of volts. The accelerated clusters have very high total energies, but because the energy is carried collectively by a large number of constituent atoms, individual atoms of the clusters have only relatively low energies. When a cluster impacts upon the surface of a material being processed, the atoms of the cluster are not sufficiently energetic to allow them to penetrate more than a few atomic layers (≤10 nanometers) into the target surface. The cluster disintegrates while most of the total energy of the cluster is transferred to the atoms of the target at the point of impact to momentarily produce extreme temperature and pressure transient conditions within the outermost atoms of the target surface. GCIB provides the ability to alter and control surface properties including nanoscale texturing, surface hydrophilicity and crystallinity.