Material sciences

  • Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

    The matrix depicts the formation energy – an indicator of stability – of around two million possible compounds. (Image: University of Basel, Department of Chemistry)

    With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

  • Breakthrough in materials science: Kiel research team can bond metals with nearly all surfaces

    The targeted etching process of “nanoscale-sculpturing” roughens the upper layer of metal (here aluminium, 20 µm = 0.02 mm), thereby creating a 3D-structure with tiny hooks.   Melike Baytekin‐Gerngroß

    How metals can be used depends particularly on the characteristics of their surfaces. A research team at Kiel University has discovered how they can change the surface properties without affecting the mechanical stability of the metals or changing the metal characteristics themselves. This fundamentally new method is based on using an electro-chemical etching process, in which the uppermost layer of a metal is roughened on a micrometer scale in a tightly-controlled manner. Through this “nanoscale-sculpturing” process, metals such as aluminium, titanium, or zinc can permanently be joined with nearly all other materials, become water-repellent, or improve their biocompatibility.

  • Call for Abstracts: 3rd Euro Intelligent Materials

    © Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel (Germany)

    The 3rd European Symposium on Intelligent Materials will take place in Kiel (Germany) from 7th to 9th June 2017. Conference chairs are Christine Selhuber-Unkel and Eckhard Quandt from the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (Germany).

  • Cooling towards absolute zero using super-heavy electrons

    Temperature evolution of an Yb0.81Sc0.19Co2Zn20 single crystal during the reduction of a magnetic field from 8 to 0 Tesla. © University of Augsburg, IFP/EP VI

    New quantum material significantly improves adiabatic demagnetization cooling

  • Diesel engine with innovative steel pistons

    The BINE Projektinfo brochure entitled "Steel pistons for more efficient diesel engines" © BINE Informationsdienst

    Car engines are becoming increasingly compact with a greater specific power. This reduces the weight, moving masses and fuel consumption. In the engine, however, the temperatures and pressures rise for individual components. This causes conventional pistons made of aluminium to reach their limits. The new BINE Projektinfo brochure entitled "Steel pistons for more efficient diesel engines" (14/2016) presents a cooling concept for engine pistons using a liquid metal alloy. Compared with aluminium, steel offers greater strength against thermal and mechanical loads.

  • Efficient Recycling of Lithium-Ion Batteries – Launch of Research Project NEW-BAT

    A new method will allow to recover valuable battery materials. © K. Selsam-Geißler, Fraunhofer ISC

    Funding was granted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to develop an innovative recycling process for valuable battery materials to be reinserted into the battery supply chain. The goal of the NEW-BAT project is a robust, energy efficient and economically viable system with wide application potential. Lithium-ion batteries are key elements in electromobility and a successful energy turnaround. The widespread use of these energy storage devices will come along with large quantities of spent batteries which itself constitute a valuable source of raw materials.

  • Energy hybrid: Battery meets super capacitor

    After stations in Zurich, Kanada and Scotland ERC Starting Grant awardee Stefan Freunberger researches on new energy storage systems at TU Graz. © Lunghammer - TU Graz

    Researcher at TU Graz demonstrates in Nature Materials that it is possible to combine the high-energy density of batteries with the high-power output of super capacitors in a single system – thanks to liquid energy storage materials. Batteries and super capacitors are electrochemical energy storage media, but they are as different as night and day. Both are capable of energy storage and targeted energy release – and yet there are major differences between the two. Batteries store very large amounts of energy that is released slowly but constantly. By contrast, super capacitors can only store small amounts of energy, but they release this energy much faster and more powerfully with large short-term peak currents.

  • Etching Microstructures with Lasers

    Structuring process for glass using direct laser ablation with ultrafast laser pulses. Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen / Volker Lannert.

    Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

  • Fire and Flame for New Surfaces

    A flame treatment facility in operation. esse CI

    The printing, coating and bonding of plastics requires the surface to be pre-treated. Flame treatment is one way to achieve this so-called activation. It is currently being used in many industrial sectors and has considerable potential for development. The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam and the Italian company esse CI are uniting their expertise in surface chemistry and machine engineering in order to clearly expand the opportunities provided by flame treatment and to extend the range of surface properties. Interested companies can take part in the development of this technology and help advance its industrialization.

  • First Random Laser Made of Paper-Based Ceramics

    The team used conventional laboratory filter paper as a structural template due to its long fibers and the stable structure. Photo: Institute for Complex Systems /Rome

    Working with physicists from the University of Rome, a team led by Professor Cordt Zollfrank from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) built the first controllable random laser based on cellulose paper in Straubing. The team thereby showed how naturally occurring structures can be adapted for technical applications. Hence, materials no longer need to be artificially outfitted with disordered structures, utilizing naturally occurring ones instead.

  • Flexible OLEDs glowing from first European open access pilot line

    Flexible OLED on plastic web. Fraunhofer FEP

    Fraunhofer FEP has extensive and long lasting expertise and know-how in operation of its R&D lines for manufacturing of OLED lighting devices. As one of the core team partners within the European pilot line project PI-SCALE Fraunhofer FEP presents first demonstrators of flexible OLED out from this project. The demonstrators represent results from first pilot line production within the PI-SCALE project at the IDW 23rd International Display Workshops in Fukuoka, Japan, from December 7 – 9, 2016 on 4th floor, booth no. 13.

  • Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

    New materials enable high speed frequencies: Fraunhofer ISE develops resonant DC/DC converters with 2.5 MHz as demonstrator for aeronautical applications. ©Fraunhofer ISE

    The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

  • Humboldt Fellowship for research on tunable optical surfaces for Terahertz technology

    Dr. Corey Shemelya. Thomas Koziel/TU Kaiserslautern

    U.S. scientist Dr. Corey Shemelya has recently started a research stay at the University of Kaiserslautern in the form of a fellowship granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Dr. Shemelya is studying structured optical surfaces which hold potential applications in communication technology and Terahertz imaging, e.g. body scanning equipment for airport safety. Shemelya is working in conjunction with the Terahertz Technology Laboratory of Professor Marco Rahm at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the State Research Center for Optical and Material Sciences (OPTIMAS).

  • ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

    Digitally created and saved in the cloud - how the digital twin accompanies the component throughout its entire life cycle will be a central topic at the ICTM Conference. © Photo Fraunhofer IPT

    “Digital production” is increasingly turning into an integral part of successful turbomachinery manufacturing: How digitalization approaches can enhance efficient manufacturing and lifetime of modern turbomachinery components will be the central aspect of the fourth “ICTM Conference” on February 15 and 16, 2017, in Aachen. Online registration for the conference is open now, with an early bird price until December 16, 2016. The event, which is organized by the Fraunhofer Institutes for Production Technolgy IPT and Laser Technology ILT, provides attendants of the turbomachinery industry with current information and the opportunity to discuss new developments around the major topics “Advanced Machining”, “Digitalization”, “Industrie 4.0” and “Additive Manufacturing”.

  • Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

    Selective laser melting makes it possible to manufacture highly complex geometries made of magnesium and magnesium alloys in a flexible and precise way. LZH

    Smallest structures, complex parts or individual implants – due to its flexibility additive manufacturing has a high potential for use in modern production technology. Therefore, this topic is perfectly suited for the ”Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing” that is organized by NiedersachsenMetall and the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) to transfer the latest research and development results to industrial application. On November 09th, 2016, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are invited to come to the LZH to inform themselves about laser-based additive manufacturing.

  • Laser rescue system for serious accidents

    The chances for rescue are much higher the faster a person can be freed from the vehicle. Photo: Stadt Dortmund – Institut für Feuerwehr- und Rettungstechnologie

    Better technology and modern materials increase the traffic safety and save human life. But they pose totally new challenges for the emergency personnel at the accident site. Because today, tools like hydraulic rescue cutters more and more often reach their limits. A mobile laser unit for rescue missions shall solve this problem. The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH), six project partners and eight associated partners have teamed up to develop this system. In the past 25 years, the number of road traffic deaths has been drastically reduced, and the number of severely injured persons decreased significantly, too. Among others, the declining figures are due to improved passive safety. The use of high-tensile steel and composite materials adds to this.

  • Laser-additive manufacturing paves the way to Industry 4.0

    Additive manufacturing at the micro scale using Selective Laser Melting. LZH

    On November 09th, 2016, already for the third time, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and NiedersachsenMetall invited small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to attend the Innovation Day Laser Technology at LZH. About 100 guests informed themselves about the state-of-the-art as well as the application and market potential of the focus topic “Laser Additive Manufacturing”. „Are we ready for implementing Industry 4.0?“, asked Dr. Volker Schmidt, CEO of NiedersachsenMetall and Chairman of the Industrial Board of the LZH, the audience at the beginning. With regard to the innovation potentials and new markets, he emphasized the high importance of digitalization. “What is the future of work in the age of digitalization?”, opened Ingelore Hering from the Lower Saxony Ministry for Economics, Labour and Transport her welcome speech with a question, too. “Only all stakeholders together can find sustainable answers to this challenge. For example here today.”

  • Launch of New Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing

    Image 1:  Surface structuring with laser radiation. © Fraunhofer IPT, Aachen, Germany.

    At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility. In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive manufacturing to laser polishing – are now commonplace in large-scale production.

  • Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

    Light-driven atomic rotations (spirals) induce coherent motion of the electronic spins (blue arrows). Image: J.M. Harms/MPI for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter

    Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion. Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how the ultrafast light-induced modulation of the atomic positions in a material can control its magnetization. An international research team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter at CFEL in Hamburg used terahertz light pulses to excite pairs of lattice vibrations in a magnetic crystal.

  • LZH optimizes laser-based CFRP reworking for the aircraft industry

    Repair preparation of a CFRP aircraft component through layer-by-layer laser removal of the damaged material areas. Foto: LZH

    To be able to rework aircraft components made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) more efficiently in the future, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has started the joint research project ReWork together with the INVENT GmbH, OWITA GmbH und Precitec Optronik GmbH. The aim of the project is to develop a reliable process for thin-walled and complex CFRP components. Today, many aircraft components are made of the lightweight material CFRP. Advantages of this material are the low weight and the high stability. The processing of this material, however, is still difficult. Therefore, in order to eliminate production- and operation-related defects in a faster and more cost-efficient way, the aircraft industry requires a reliable solution.