Material sciences

  • 3D-Druck: Maßgeschneiderte Einlegesohlen für Diabetes-Patienten

    3D-Strukturen aus TPU für Einlegesohlen. Die Strukturen wurden über CAD ausgelegt, ihre Eigenschaften simuliert und mit Experimenten abgeglichen. Fraunhofer IWM

    Einlegesohlen für Diabetes-Patienten stellen Orthopädieschuhtechniker bislang in Handarbeit her. Künftig können die Spezialisten die Sohlen kostengünstiger als bisher mit einer neuartigen Software entwerfen und mithilfe von 3D-Druckern herstellen. Die Vorteile: Die mechanischen Eigenschaften der Einlegesohlen lassen sich besser analysieren und wissenschaftlich bewerten. Drückt der Schuh? Üblicherweise verlagert man in diesem Fall das Gewicht und entlastet die schmerzende Stelle. Bei Diabetes-Patienten jedoch verkümmern oftmals die Nervenenden im Fuß – die Betroffenen spüren die schmerzende Stelle nicht. Dies kann zu Druckstellen und schließlich zu Wunden führen, die schlecht verheilen. Abhilfe oder zumindest Linderung versprechen Einlegesohlen, die an der verletzten Stelle sehr weich sind und die Orthopädieschuhtechniker in Handarbeit aus verschiedenen Materialien passgenau anfertigen.

  • Appointment of Prof. Schleifenbaum to the chair “Digital Additive Production“ at RWTH Aachen Uni

    Picture: “In the area of Additive Manufacturing, the applications and the transfer of know-how into the industry are particularly important!” © Schleifenbaum.

    Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dipl. Wirt.-Ing. Johannes Henrich Schleifenbaum has followed the call to the newly established chair – “Digital Additive Production DAP” – of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University. He assumed the position on August 1, 2016. He also took over management of the competence area “Additive Manufacturing and Functional Layers” at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen on November 1, 2016. Pooled expertise in additive manufacturing technologies in Aachen. Along with RWTH Aachen University, FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences and industrial partners, the Fraunhofer Institutes ILT and IPT form a strong network promoting additive manufacturing (AM) technologies at an international level. In addition to the Photonics Cluster, inaugurated in April 2016 at the RWTH Aachen Campus, the newly established DAP chair rounds off the great spectrum of AM offered by Aachen’s R&D landscape.

  • 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.

  • Bioabbaubare Polymer-Beschichtung für Implantate

    Im mikroskopischen Fluoreszenzbild lassen sich die Strukturen aus Molekülen erkennen, die zu Testzwecken auf die bioabbaubare Beschichtung gedruckt wurden. Im mikroskopischen Fluoreszenzbild lassen sich die Strukturen aus Molekülen erkennen, die zu Testzwecken auf die bioabbaubare Beschichtung gedruckt wurden.  Bild: KIT

    Medizinische Implantate tragen oft Oberflächensubstrate, die Wirkstoffe abgeben oder auf denen Biomoleküle sowie Zellen besser haften können. Allerdings gab es bislang keine abbaubaren Gasphasenbeschichtungen für abbaubare Implantate wie chirurgische Nahtmaterialien oder Gerüste für die Gewebezucht. Eine Polymerbeschichtung, die im Körper wie ihr Träger abgebaut wird, stellen nun Forscher des Karlsruher Instituts für Technologie in der Fachzeitschrift Angewandte Chemie vor. „Unsere neuen abbaubaren Polymerfilme könnten breite Anwendung für die Funktionalisierung und Beschichtung von Oberflächen finden, in den Biowissenschaften über die Medizin bis hin zur Lebensmittelverpackung“, so Professor Joerg Lahann, Co-Direktor des Instituts für Funktionelle Grenzflächen am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie. Gemeinsam in einem internationalen Team stellte er Polymerfilme her, die mit funktionellen Seitengruppen als „Verankerungspunkte“ für Moleküle ausgestattet waren, an die sie Fluoreszenzfarbstoffe und Biomoleküle andocken ließen.

  • 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.

  • Electron highway inside crystal

    Step edges on topological crystalline insulators may lead to electrically conducting pathways where electrons with opposite spin spin move in converse directions - any U-turn is prohibited. Picture: Thomas Bathon/Paolo Sessi/Matthias Bode

    Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science. Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was highlighted again as the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm awarded this year's Nobel Prize in Physics to three British scientists for their research of so-called topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.

  • 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.

  • Evonik Research Prize for lithium-ion battery test cell with separated electrodes

    A glass ceramic membrane, coated with aluminum and plastic, allows only lithium ions to pass through. It is impermeable to all other components of the electrolyte fluid. Photo: Monika Weiner / TUM

    For years, small rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have reliably supplied billions of portable devices with energy. But manufacturers of high-energy applications such as electric cars and power storage systems seek for new electrode materials and electrolytes. Michael Metzger, researcher at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), has now developed a new battery test cell allowing to investigate anionic and cationic reactions separately. Recently the researcher was honored with the Evonik Research Prize for his work.

  • 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.

  • Further Improvement of Qubit Lifetime for Quantum Computers

    Illustration of the filtering of unwanted quasiparticles (red spheres) from a stream of superconducting electron pairs (blue spheres) using a microwave-driven pump. Philip Krantz, Krantz NanoArt

    New Technique Removes Quasiparticles from Superconducting Quantum Circuits - An international team of scientists has succeeded in making further improvements to the lifetime of superconducting quantum circuits. An important prerequisite for the realization of high-performance quantum computers is that the stored data should remain intact for as long as possible. The researchers, including Jülich physicist Dr. Gianluigi Catelani, have developed and tested a technique that removes unpaired electrons from the circuits. These are known to shorten the qubit lifetime (to be published online by the journal Science today.

  • 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”.