Exogenesis’ NanoAccel employs a platform technology known as gas cluster ion beam (GCIB) for modification and control of material surfaces. NanoAccel is not a surface coating – Surface modification is accomplished through bombardment by clusters of accelerated atoms consisting of several hundred to a few thousand gas atoms bound together by weak interatomic forces. The gas clusters are made positively charged by electron impact ionization and are then accelerated through high potentials of several tens of thousands of volts in a vacuum. The base NanoAccel technology produces cluster ions with inert, non-toxic argon gas that leaves no surface residuals following exposure. Every accelerated cluster disintegrates upon impact with a surface and its constituent gas atoms are pumped away.
The NanoAccel process is unique in that it provides the simultaneous advantages of exceptionally high process energies and exceptionally shallow process depths. Each bombarding cluster or pack of atoms in the NanoAccel process has very high total energy, but the energy is shared over all the atoms in the cluster, such that each individual atom actually has very low energy. Clusters of atoms impact the surface of a target, and in doing so transfer their large total energies into the target surface at the point of impact. The energies of individual atoms 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. Variations of the NanoAccel process may be employed to alter physical and chemical properties of the target surface including:
- Atomic structure,
- Surface energy and hydrophilic properties,
- Atomic level texturing,
- Atomic level smoothness,
- Surface chemistry,
- Atomic charge distributions, and
- Surface elution barrier creation.
The NanoAccel platform technology includes 4 variations that modify surfaces to achieve specific objectives.