Surface modification

Electron beam surface modification
© Fraunhofer FEP
Electron beam surface modification

The modification of surfaces is an extensive field of research for applications in medical technology. By changing the material properties in the surface layer area, it is possible to specifically influence the function of the surface independent of the properties of the bulk material. In addition to the versatile plasma processes used for surface modification, Fraunhofer FEP works with non-thermal electron beam technology.

The target material to be treated is individually activated by precision-adjusted electron beam that achieves penetration of up to 100 μm. This results in the restructuring of existing chemical bonds. In addition, new functionalities are formed on the surface depending on the ambient atmosphere. Grafting processes can also be carried out ín a manner that leaves the materials largely unaltered. Depending on the electron dose used, the surfaces of the products can be sterilized at the same time. For use in the medical technology sector, this means two production steps are completed with a single processing step: modification and sterilization..

  • Reduction of bacterial adhesion/biofilm formation e.g. on implants, catheters or in the industrial sector e.g. in pipelines of production processes.
  • Improving the adhesion of (human) cells and their growth
  • Partial modification for targeted control of cell adhesion and/or response
  • The use of different process atmospheres during electron beam treatment opens up further possibilities for specifically changing surface functionalities


  • Fast process for surface treatment within a few seconds
  • Treatment of temperature-sensitive materials is feasible thanks to extremely low substrate heating
  • Edge layer technology, no change in bulk properties
  • Long-term stability
  • Partial modification and structuring in the μm range is feasible
  • Processing combined with simultaneous sterilization is feasible
  • Environmentally friendly