||Samples of AISI 4140 steel were surface treated under two different processes: ion nitriding and high energy pulsed plasma irradiation. Ion nitriding was performed with a 100 Hz square wave glow discharge, in an atmosphere of an 80% N2 and 20% H2 mixture, under a total pressure of 5.6 mbar. Pulsed plasma irradiation consisted in the surface irradiation with a predetermined number of pulses of high energy and short duration argon plasmas, accelerated in a Z-Pinch experiment. Each pulse can induce high temperatures in a short time (<200 ns), followed by an also fast (10 μs) cooling down. The samples, ion nitrided and post-irradiated with pulsed plasmas showed important surface property improvements with respect to samples subjected only to ion nitriding. Those improvements consisted of an increase in the thickness of the hardened layer, and in a reduction of the micro-hardness gradient. These results show a complex surface layer structure that improves the support base for loads, reducing the probability of surface layer loosening.