Applications and the economic benefits

Surface-analytical procedures provide a detailed insight into the chemical and structural composition of the material surfaces and the contamination layers on them – whether in the form of a film or particles – which are no longer visible to the unaided eye. That is why modern industrial practice is no longer conceivable without methods for the precise characterization of product surfaces.

These methods provide crucial information for:

  • fault and damage analytics in production and processing
  • quality control and monitoring of process steps,
  • and product development and process optimization.

Fault and damage analytics

Defective conductor path.
Defective conductor path.

If problems occur in the process sequence that become noticeable as a result of the faulty performance or malfunctioning of the product, the cause has to be identified and eliminated as quickly as possible. Frequently this is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Surface-analytical methods can give crucial information here about the origin of undesirable contaminations or about changes in process parameters.

Monitoring the process steps

The early use of analytics to monitor and optimize production steps is more efficient and more cost-effective than the subsequent elimination of faults. Often sophisticated and high-end analytics can only be used during process development, as these methods cannot always be integrated into practical operations. Later on monitoring can be carried out by simpler means.

Optimization of products

Barrier layers.
Product optimisation: development of barrier layers.

“Think small” – the trend towards miniaturization is being accepted more and more widely in the key branches. As a result, in the automotive sector, metal-working, the production of textiles, the production of polymers, pharmaceuticals and medical engineering – material surfaces have long since turned out to be a microcosm of the possibilities. In this world modern ingenious nano- and biotechnological elements, sophisticated coatings and advanced finishing of inexpensive bulk materials define the innovation of products. But the times are over when you could literally examine the problem under your own microscope. The target-oriented development of products with innovative surface characteristics requires the systematic use of surface-analytical methods.