Within the framework of a multitude of research projects, the Analysis department of the IST has accumulated profound expertise in the field of materials analysis and testing technology. For 25 years, we have also been offering this as a service to industrial customers.
You are seeking support in: material and process development, quality assurance, damage analysis or reverse engineering?
The Fraunhofer IST offers the possibility of determining the chemical elemental composition of films and surfaces with high lateral resolution (< 1 µm by means of EDX/WDX) and high vertical resolution (~1 nm by means of SIMS), high detection limit and high surface sensitivity (XPS).
With the aid of X-ray diffraction (XRD), the crystal structure, grain sizes, textures and residual stresses can be characterized.
At the Fraunhofer IST, a multitude of microscopy methods are available which cover a wide range of different magnifications: This starts with the simple stereo magnifier, followed by diverse optical microscopes with high-quality digital image acquisition, confocal laser microscopy (which allows optical 3D imaging and measurement), tactile profilometry for 2D and 3D imaging of surfaces, scanning electron microscopy with up to 100,000-fold magnification, and, finally, atomic force microscopy (AFM), which achieves the highest lateral and vertical resolutions (< 1 nm).
The IST offers a range of measurement and testing methods with which the mechanical properties of films and surfaces can be determined. These include micro- and nanoindentation, which can be used to determine the hardness and modulus of elasticity of coatings in the micrometer and sub-micrometer range. Mechanical residual stresses can be determined for crystalline materials by means of X-ray diffraction (see XRD). A further important mechanical parameter of films is also the strength of the adhesion of the films to the substrate. This can be determined for hard materials by means of scratch or Rockwell tests. Tensile and bending tests can simulate specific strain loads on coated components. And last, but not least, the coating thickness is one of the fundamental basic parameters which is determined. Depending on the material, thickness, substrate, geometry, etc., an entire range of methods is available for this purpose, each providing optimum results for specific applications.
At the Fraunhofer IST, a range of friction and abrasion test rigs are available with which various mechanical contact situations can be simulated: dry running, running with lubricants, running at high temperatures or high loads, abrasive conditions, fatigue wear or testing on the microscale. Many of these tests can be performed in accordance with ISO, DIN or ASTM standards.
Layers and surfaces can be characterized at the Fraunhofer IST with the aid of various optical methods. For substrates or individual layers as well as layer stacks, the spectral properties such as transmission, reflection and absorption are determined, as are the refractive indices and layer thicknesses. In addition to measurements in accordance with standards or adapted to customer requirements, we also offer the evaluation and interpretation of the measurement data.
Photocatalytically active materials and surfaces promise self-cleaning, air-purifying and antimicrobial properties. The measure of photocatalytic activity is the determination of effectiveness, i.e. how effectively and efficiently harmful or disturbing substances are broken down. The Fraunhofer IST offers its customers a high number of specific and standard-compliant test methods for the various fields of application for their product and technology development.