One technique to improve tribological properties of aluminum bronze surfaces is to introduce laser controlled melting at the surface in the presence of a composition-modifying film. In this work, a 40 mu m thick organic film, containing B4C particles, was formed at the workpiece surface prior to laser treatment. The organic coating provides enhanced absorption of the incident laser radiation and distributes the B4C particles uniformly across the surface. Morphological and microstructural changes in the laser treated layer were examined using scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction. The microhardness of the laser treated layer was measured and the residual stress formed at the treated surface was evaluated by X-ray diffraction using the sin(2) psi technique. It was found that the laser treated surface produced is relatively free from defects and asperities with a microhardness that is notably higher than that of the as-received bronze substrate. This hardening effect can be attributed to the development of a dense layer consisting of fine grains, partially dissolved B4C particles, and formation of Cu3N compounds. The residual compressive stress obtained from X-ray diffraction peak evaluation is of the order of -400 MPa. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.