Surface and interface analytics

The surface of every material or product interacts with the outside world. Therefore  the chemical, physical and biological properties of the surface substantially determine the specific applications and frequently also the service life of a component.

To an increasing extent innovative products are finished with a tailor-made surface design, for which the processes and surface composition have to be controlled down into the submicroscopic or atomic range. This is because adhesion, wettability, wear and corrosion are affected even by the smallest contaminations.

Only modern methods of surface analytics provide access to this information.

Micro- and nanoparticles

Principles of surface analytical methods.
Principles of surface analytical methods.

Due to their large surface-to-volume ratio, micro- and nanoparticles often have their own characteristic properties and are used as a separate material or as a constituent of surface coatings. The characterization of the particles is therefore of great importance and requires appropriate methods of analysis.

Surface analytics at the Fraunhofer IGB has a wide range of highly specialized methods, procedures and types of equipment at its disposal.

We characterize the following properties of surfaces and interfaces, of ultra-thin layers, powders, particles and membranes:

  • chemical characteristics

      (e.g. elemental and surface composition, physical properties)

  • physical characteristics

     (specific surface, film/layer thickness, wettability)

  • morphological characteristics

      (e.g. roughness and topography),

  • and the antibacterial effect of surfaces.

In cooperation with our micro- and cell biologists we also determine biological properties such as biocompatibility, cell adhesion or the antimicrobial finishing.

Both the material surface and in particular the process media utilized play a vital role in optimizing processes and products, so our central chemical analytics are equipped with all the widely used methods of characterizing and analyzing liquid media.

Methods and processes

The surface analysis department of the Fraunhofer IGB has an extensive range of highly specialized methods, procedures and equipment at its disposal. We measure chemical properties (e.g. element and surface composition), physical properties (e.g. specific surface area, layer thickness and wetting properties) and morphological properties (e.g. roughness and topography) on surfaces and interfaces, thin layers, powders, particles and membranes.

In cooperation with our micro- and cell biologists, we also determine biological properties, for example the biocompatibility or antibacterial effect of surfaces.

Since not only the material surface but also the process media used play an outstanding role in the optimization of processes and products, our central chemical analysis department is equipped with all common methods for the characterization and analysis of liquid media.