A method for producing an atomic oxygen beam is provided by the present invention. First, a material 10' is provided which dissociates molecular oxygen and dissolves atomic oxygen into its bulk. Next, molecular oxygen is exposed to entrance surface 11' of material 10'. Next, material 10' is heated by heater 17' to facilitate the permeation of atomic oxygen through material 10' to the UHV side 12'. UHV side 12' is interfaced with an ultra-high vacuum (UHV) environment provided by UHV pump 15'. The atomic oxygen on the UHV side 12' is excited to a non-binding state by exciter 14' thus producing the release of atomic oxygen to form an atomic oxygen beam 35'.