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Advanced Technologies for Industry

Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST

Upper organisation
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.
Research Center

Bienroder Weg 54 E
38108 Braunschweig


Fraunhofer is the largest organization for applied research in Europe. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, founded in 1949, is a recognized non-profit organization and undertakes applied research of direct utility to private and public enterprise and of wide benefit to society, concerning health, security, communication, energy and the environment.

At present, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft maintains 74 institutes and research units. The majority of more than 28,000 staff are qualified scientists and engineers, who work with an annual research budget of €2.8 billion. Of this sum, €2.3 billion is generated through contract research. More than 70 percent of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s contract research revenue is derived from contracts with industry and from publicly financed research projects.

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. 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. 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.

Membership in European networks (selection):

  • European Factories of the Future Research Association (EFFRA)
  • Europäische Forschungsgesellschaft Dünne Schichten e. V. (EFDS)
  • European Photocatalysis Federation
  • Europäische Forschungsgesellschaft für Blechverarbeitung e.V. (EFB) 
  • European Joint Committee on Plasma and Ion Surface Engineering (EJC/PISE)
  • NANOfutures European Technology Integration and Innovation Platform (ETIP) in Nanotechnology

Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST

Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST

Contact Person
Dr. Jan Gäbler
European research officer
+49 531 2155-625
is SME contact

The Fraunhofer IST has a well-equipped coating center for the manufacturing of prototypes and pilot series. 

  • Low pressure plasma processes
  • Chemical vapor deposition
  • Atmospheric pressure plasma systems
  • Laser technology and microstructuring
  • Electroplating
  • Pretreatment
  • Analytics and quality assurance

System solutions in the field of thin films and surface technology
The Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST offers research and development into new materials, technologies, processes and installations as well as product and production systems in one basket - from the concept through prototypes to economic production scenarios, to upscaling to industrial magnitudes - and all this whilst maintaining closed material and substance cycles.

Our skills and capabilities cover not only the pretreatment, coating and modification of surfaces but also process development, simulation and modeling, cyber-physical product and production systems, digital process automation, sustainable factory systems and life cycle management, energy storage systems, as well as analysis and quality assurance. An important objective of our work will always be to transfer our developments into industrial application for our clients and partners.

In solving our tasks we deploy not only low-pressure and atmospheric-pressure plasma processes but also hot-filament CVD processes and electroplating.

Pretreatment - We clean surfaces

Successful coating processes imply a proper surface pretreatment.

Modification and Coating – We develop processes and coating systems

Thin films and specifically modified surfaces are the core business of the Fraunhofer IST. The institute utilizes a wide range of coating technologies and surface treatments, ranging from plasma coating and treatment in vacuum and at atmospheric pressure over hot-filament CVD processes to electroplating and laser technology.

Testing and Characterization – We ensure quality

A fast and reliable analysis and quality control is the prerequisite for a successful coating development.

Application – We transfer research results in the production level

To guarantee an efficient technology transfer we offer a wide range of know how.

Other activities
Plasma activation and plasma functionalization
Plasma pretreatment and plasma cleaning
Atmospheric pressure plasma processes
Hollow cathode processes
PACVD process
Magnetron sputtering
High-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HIPIMS)
Plasma diffusion treatment
Hot filament and hot wire CVD processes
Laser-plasma hybrid technology
Atomic layer deposition (ALD)
Service for Industry and SMEs