Institute profile for the Fraunhofer IST

The Fraunhofer IST - locations, activities, networks, applications.
© Fraunhofer IST, Drawing: Marén Gröschel
The Fraunhofer IST - locations, activities, networks, applications.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST in Braunschweig is an innovative and internationally recognized partner for research and development in surface engineering. With our expertise in the associated product and production systems and with a staff of around 130, we harness the synergies of process, engineering and manufacturing technology. 

Surface technology for future-oriented products and systems

Our employees deploy coating and surface technology as a game-changer in the development of future-oriented products and systems. Through modification, structuring and coating of the surface, we are able to realize the most diverse functions and functionalities. Our portfolio encompasses the development of prototypes as well as economic production scenarios and scaling to industrial dimensions - and all this in accordance with the principle of closed material and substance cycles.

Tailor-made and sustainable: Our sector-based solutions

Our interdisciplinary teams offer customers from industry and research tailored and sustainable solutions for their sectors, e.g. plant and mechanical engineering, tools, vehicle construction, aerospace, energy, optics, medical and pharmaceutical process engineering, environmental technology, chemistry, and the digital economy. Drawing on a broad spectrum of expertise, technologies, processes and coating materials, we design the optimum process chain for the task at hand - all the way to the factory.

A focus on our application fields and expertise

Currently, our experts are focusing their application-development expertise on the following areas:

  • Process and production engineering for sustainable energy storage and systems
  • Tribology and sensor technology
  • Optical systems and applications
  • Interfacial chemistry and adaptive bonding systems
  • Diamond-based systems and CleanTech

A broad spectrum of technologies is thereby applied for the coating, treatment and structuring of surfaces, including electrochemical processes / Galvanic 4.0, atmospheric-pressure and low-pressure plasma processes, chemical vapor deposition, atomic layer deposition (ALD) and plasma diffusion processes. Complementary competencies encompass sustainable factory systems, life cycle management, production engineering, simulation and digital services as well as analytics and testing technology.

Sustainable development

The Fraunhofer IST has anchored sustainability in its mission statement. For the work at IST, goals 3, 6, 7, 9 and 12 are particularly relevant; selected activities are presented hereafter. 


Networks and cooperations

We utilize synergies in our networks within the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, in national and international collaborations, and in our partnerships with universities and colleges.


Excellent research

Our Board of Trustees

The members of our Board of Trustees provide us with advice and support on matters of professional orientation and structural alterations.