The Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST in Braunschweig is an innovative partner for research and development in surface technology, with expertise in the associated product and production systems. The institute focuses on the business fields “mechanical engineering, tools and automotive technology“, “energy and electronics“, “optics“, “life science and ecology“, and also “aerospace“.

Around 120 employees work together with customers from industry and research to develop customized and sustainable solutions: from prototypes, through economic production scenarios, to upscaling to industrial magnitudes - and all this whilst maintaining closed material and substance cycles. In addition to application-oriented research and development, scientific principles are also researched within various collaborations with universities and research institutions.

Coating and surface technology is the key to innovative products and systems: Through modification, patterning and coating of the surface, a wide range of functions and functionalities can be realized. Friction reduction, abrasion and corrosion protection, sensor features or optical properties are just a few examples.

Available technologies for this purpose include among others:

- electrochemical processes, in particular electroplating,

- atmospheric pressure processes

- low-pressure plasma processes with the main focus on magnetron sputtering, highly ionized plasmas and plasma-activated vapor deposition (PECVD) as well as

- chemical vapor deposition with the main focus on hot-wire CVD.

One of the institute's particularly strong points is its ability to create the optimum process chain for the respective task on the basis of a broad spectrum of processes and coating materials. The Fraunhofer IST not only has excellent capabilities in surface analysis using the very latest equipment but has also accumulated extensive experience in the modeling and simulation of both product properties and the associated processes and production systems.

The range of services offered by the Fraunhofer IST is complemented by the expertise of other institutes within the Fraunhofer Group “Light & Surfaces” as well as by the competencies of the Institutes for Surface Technology IOT and for Machine Tools and Production Technology IWF of the TU Braunschweig, which are simultaneously led by the managers of the IST Prof. Günter Bräuer and Prof. Christoph Herrmann.

Many projects are funded through public resources of the state of Lower Saxony, the federal government, the European Union and other institutions.