The “pulsed electron deposition” (PED) technique, in which a solid target material is ablated by a fast, high-energy electron beam, was initially developed two decades ago for the deposition of thin films of metal oxides for photovoltaics, spintronics, memories, and superconductivity, and dielectric polymer layers. Recently, PED has been proposed for use in the biomedical field for the fabrication of hard and soft coatings. The first biomedical application was the deposition of low wear zirconium oxide coatings on the bearing components in total joint replacement. Since then, several works have reported the manufacturing and characterization of coatings of hydroxyapatite, calcium phosphate substituted (CaP), biogenic CaP, bioglass, and antibacterial coatings on both hard (metallic or ceramic) and soft (plastic or elastomeric) substrates. Due to the growing interest in PED, the current maturity of the technology and the low cost compared to other commonly used physical vapor deposition techniques, the purpose of this work was to review the principles of operation, the main applications, and the future perspectives of PED technology in medicine.
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