The present invention provides a method for forming a diffusion barrier at one or more surfaces of a protective coating. In a preferred embodiment, the protective coating is an MCrAlY coating, and the diffusion barrier is a submicron layer of rhenium atoms. The rhenium diffusion barrier is formed by condensing vaporized rhenium onto the surface of the component and substantially simultaneously bombarding the surface with an energetic beam of inert ions. The high, localized concentration of rhenium atoms at the surface(s) of the protective coating dramatically slows the diffusion of constituent elements from the coating.
Gerald R. Leverant