CERN technology portfolio: titanium polishing and its applications

Specialized knowledge and the most innovative technologies emerging at CERN are available for scientific and commercial purposes as part of technology transfer, which is one of the pillars of the European Organization for Nuclear Research. It is based, among others for research and development cooperation and sharing licenses for commercialization, which can be supported by experts from CERN. The Knowledge Transfer Group at CERN has developed a full catalog of technologies available for science and business, which we will present in a series of our articles.


To begin with, we’ll introduce industry 4.0 in this case, titanium polishing technology.

Titanium polishing is a process to reduce the roughness, and thereby increase the brightness, of a metal surface made of titanium or titanium alloy. The technology described here is a patented electrolytic method (electropolishing), and related technical know-how, to polish titanium to a high degree of surface smoothness – typically down to the nanometer level. CERN’s titanium polishing method uses a chemical bath formed of sulfuric acid, hydrofluoric acid and acetic acid, which can be complemented with the addition of a cationic wetting agent – providing the benefits of better regulation of the electrochemical process, less metal dissolution, and lower power consumption.

The process is used at CERN primarily to polish electrodes, which require an ultra-smooth surface to avoid sparks during operation. However, the chemical bath and electrolytic parameters could be optimised for other applications, with practically no limit on the size of the sample to be treated.

Applications of technology:

  • Vacuum technology
  • Medical industry: implants, tools
  • Jewelleries, spectacles frames, watches
  • Aerospace: turbine blades
  • Electronics, storage discs

This technology can be used on a partnership basis with CERN or a license can be obtained from the Organization.

Source of material: CERN –


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