Material sciences

  • Hannover Messe: Gecomer®-Technology shows its performance in endurance tests

    Experimental set-up for endurance tests of Gecomer® structures. Source: Ollmann

    Researchers at the Leibniz Institute for New Materials (INM) have demonstrated the performance of their technology in endurance tests: Even after 500,000 testing cycles the dry adhesive structures work reliable. Thus, the next step towards industrial application is done.

    Components with highly sensitive surfaces are used in automotive, semiconductor, display and optical technologies. During production, these parts have to be handled repeatedly by pick-and-place processes. The proprietary Gecomer® principle reduces the risk of surface contamination with residues, and of mechanical damage due to gripping.

  • Hannover Messe: Improved Corrosion Protection with Flake-type Particles of Metal-phosphates

    Corrosion protection with flake-type metalphosphate particles. Source: Uwe Bellhäuser; free within this context

    Research scientists at INM developed a special type of flake-type-shaped metal-phosphate particles: They show improved passivation ability and improved diffusion barrier against corrosive substances. Besides zinc phosphate also newly developed manganese phosphate flakes are available.

  • Hannover Messe: Improved corrosion protection with flake-type zinc-phosphate particles

    Because of the disordered arrangement of the flakes, they can not run through the sandglass like spheric particles do. Source: Ollmann

    To prevent corrosive substances from penetrating into materials, a common method is to create an anti-corrosion coating by applying paint layers of zinc-phosphate particles. Now, research scientists at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials developed a special type of zinc-phosphate particles: They are flake-like in shape because they are ten times as long as they are thick. Large quantities of steel are used in architecture, bridge construction and ship-building. Structures of this type are intended to be long-lasting. Furthermore, even in the course of many years, they should not lose any of their qualities regarding strength and safety. For this reason, the steel plates and girders used must have extensive and durable protection against corrosion.

  • Hannover Messe: Inkjet process to print flexible touchscreens cost-efficiently

    Printed, flexible touchscreen. Source: INM

    INM - Leibniz Institute for New Materials will be demonstrating flexible touch screens, which are produced by printing recently developed nanoparticle inks on thin plastic foils. These inks composed predominantly of transparent, conductive oxides (TCOs) are suitable for a one-step printing process. Flexible smart phones are desirable for a lot of users. Up to now the displays of the innumerable phones and pods are rigid and do not yield to the anatomical forms adopted by the people carrying them. By now it is no longer any secret that the big players in the industry are working on flexible displays. INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials shows, how they might become reality in the near future: At this year’s Hannover Messe, INM will be presenting suitable coatings for cost-efficient inkjet processes at the stand B46 in hall 2 from on 24 April to 28 April.

  • Hannover Messe: Low Haze Structures for Transparent Flexible Electrodes by Electrospinning Processes

    Electrospinning: thin fibers for flexible, transparent electrodes. Source: Use Bellhäuser

    Flexible, transparent, and conductive electrodes (FTCEs) are a key enabling technology for the new generation of flexible, printable and wearable electronics. The touchscreens and displays of the future will be curved and flexible and integrated into cars, phones, or medical technology. Tapping and wiping can only work on flexible devices, when flexible materials are used for touchscreens and electric circuits, but not brittle materials like indium tin oxide or silicon. For this purpose, INM - Leibniz Institute for New Materials is working with the process of electrospinning, a technique that produces ultra-fine fibers that are up to 100 times thinner than a human hair.

  • Hannover Messe: New hybrid inks for printed, flexible electronics without sintering

    New type of hybrid inks  allow electronic circuits to be applied to paper directly from a pen. Source: INM

    Research scientists at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials have now developed a new type of hybrid inks which allows electronic circuits to be applied to paper directly from a pen, for example. Flexible circuits can be produced inexpensively on foil or paper using printing processes and permit futuristic designs with curved diodes or input elements. This requires printable electronic materials that retain a high level of conductivity during usage in spite of their curved surfaces. Research scientists at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials have now developed a new type of hybrid inks which allows electronic circuits to be applied to paper directly from a pen, for example. They are usable after drying without any further processing.

  • Hannover Messe: Silver circuits on foil allow curved touchscreens

    Photochemical Metallization allows conductor paths even on flexible foils as well as on stretchable silicone. Source: Gabi Klein, INM

    To allow typing and swiping even on curved smartphones, touchscreens and electric conductor paths have also to be curved. Therefore INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials has developed a technique, which allows such conductor paths even on flexible foils as well as on stretchable silicone. INM will be presenting the so called photochemical metallization on this year’s Hannover Messe at the Stand B46 in hall 2 from 24 April to 28 April.

    Mobile phones and smart phones still have not been adapted to the carrying habits of their users. That much is clear to anyone who has tried sitting down with a mobile phone in the back pocket: the displays of such devices are rigid and do not yield to the anatomical forms adopted by the people carrying them.

  • Hannover Messe: Successful Small-scale Production of New Hybrid Inks

    Flexible electronics with hybrid inks. Source: INM; free within this press release

    Research scientists at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials have developed a sinter-free conductive ink based on gold and silver nanoparticles coated with conductive polymers. INM’s hybrid inks enable inkjet printing of conductive structures without any thermal or UV treatments. The inks can be prepared in polar solvents such as water and alcohols, and many of their properties such as their density or viscosity can be customized. Testing samples will be available upon request.

  • Hannover Messe: Triple treatment for heat-exchangers

    New nano-coatings have an anti-adhesive, anti-corrosive and antimicrobial effect. Source: Ollmann

    INM - Leibniz Institute for New Materials is introducing new nano-coatings that reduce the effort required for cleaning heat exchangers as well as their corrosion. In these new coatings, the research scientists combine antiadhesive, anticorrosive and, on demand, also antimicrobial properties.

    When processing milk and juice, the food industry is using heat exchangers in numerous steps throughout the process. To have no risk to the consumers, heat exchangers have to be free from microbes. Especially in the numerous grooves and recesses of the heat exchanger, persistent biofilms can remain stuck. As a result, heat exchangers must be cleaned at regular intervals using aggressive chemicals.

  • Harder 3D-printed tools – Researchers from Dresden Introduce new Process for Hardmetal Industry

    Hardmetal sample with complex geometry on FFF standard printer Hage3D 140 L, in which larger components can be perspectively printed as well. © Fraunhofer IKTS

    Extremely hard tools are required in forming technology, metal-cutting and process engineering. They are conventionally made by powder pressing. Although this achieves a high degree of hardness, it is often necessary to carry out a complex and therefore expensive post-processing. Additive manufacturing enables complex geometries, but has been limited in terms of hardness and component size so far. Researchers at the Fraunhofer IKTS in Dresden have now adapted the 3D printing process Fused Filament Fabrication for hardmetals. The development meets all requirements for the first time.

  • High-performance Roll-to-Roll processing for flexible electronics

    Ultra-thin flexible Corning® Willow® Glass with a glass thickness of 100 μm © Fraunhofer FEP, Photographer: Jürgen Lösel

    Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP as one of the leading partners for research and development for surface technologies and organic electronics presents a roll of flexible thin glass, which is coated with highly conductive ITO continuously on 100 meters with roll-to-roll technology for the first time at FLEX 2017, from June 19 – 22, 2017 in Monterey, USA at booth no. 1004.

  • High-speed Quantum Memory for Photons

    Schematic of a quantum network: single photons transmit quantum information between the network nodes, where they are stored in an atomic gas. University of Basel, Department of Physics

    Physicists from the University of Basel have developed a memory that can store photons. These quantum particles travel at the speed of light and are thus suitable for high-speed data transfer. The researchers were able to store them in an atomic vapor and read them out again later without altering their quantum mechanical properties too much. This memory technology is simple and fast and it could find application in a future quantum Internet. The journal Physical Review Letters has published the results.

  • HMI 2019: Conductive Metal-polymer Inks for Inkjet Printing: Flexible Electronics Without Sintering

    Flexible electronics without sintering. Free within this context; source: INM

    The INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials presents hybrid inks for inkjet printing that contain metal nanoparticles coated with conductive polymers. The inks can be formulated in water and in other polar solvents and are suitable to print conductive structures on a range of substrates without any subsequent thermal or UV treatment. Standard metal inks require annealing after inkjet printing to become conductive. INM’s new inks obviate this step, making them compatible with many substrates including thin polymer foils and paper.

  • Hollow Structures in 3D

    Three-dimensional hollow structures in quartz glass. Photo: AG Rapp

     

    Quartz glass is the preferred material for applications that require long-term use because of its high chemical and mechanical stability and excellent optical properties. The engineer Prof. Dr. Bastian E. Rapp from the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) at the University of Freiburg and his team have developed the Glassomer process, a method that enables scientists to shape glass like plastic. In the scientific journal “Nature Communication”, they recently presented a new application: They are now able to produce three-dimensional hollow structures in quartz glass.

  • Holographic analysis of Wi-Fi data generates 3D images of the vicinity

    A cross made of aluminum foil between the viewer and the WLAN-router can easily be reconstructed from the WLAN-hologram as can be seen in the inserted picture. Image: Friedemann Reinhard/Philipp Holl / TUM

    Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a holographic imaging process that depicts the radiation of a Wi-Fi transmitter to generate three-dimensional images of the surrounding environment. Industrial facility operators could use this to track objects as they move through the production hall. Just like peering through a window, holograms project a seemingly three-dimensional image. While optical holograms require elaborate laser technology, generating holograms with the microwave radiation of a Wi-Fi transmitter requires merely one fixed and one movable antenna, as Dr. Friedenmann Reinhard and Philipp Holl report in the current issue of the renowned scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

  • How Effective are Bonding Agents? Fraunhofer Uses Liquid Chromatography for Characterization

    Getting to know materials in detail: Fraunhofer LBF has researched the systematic structure-property relationships for functionalized polyolefins. Photo: Fraunhofer LBF

    Functionalized polyolefins are of great economic importance as bonding agents between polyolefins and polar surfaces. Despite years of effort, up to now there has never been any analytic method that could provide a comprehensive understanding of these materials to enable their effectiveness to be quickly assessed, for instance as part of incoming goods controlling. Now, a chromatographic method developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF makes it possible to develop systematic structure-property relationships for these materials for the first time.

  • How Magnetic Fields Can Fix Crystal Twinning

    Graphical representation of the magnetic interactions relevant to magnetic detwinning in EuFe₂As₂. Essential is the bi-quadratic coupling between Fe and Eu indicated by blue-red arrows. © Universität Augsburg/IfP/EKM

    Special coupling of magnetic moments in high-temperature superconductors allows to reorient crystalline domains leading to “perfect” single crystals. Augsburg/PhG/KPP – In many cases, it is important to be able to take measurements along different directions in the crystal lattice in order to study the physical properties of new materials, such as high-temperature superconductors.

  • How protons move through a fuel cell

    The experiments have been conducted with Barium ceric oxide. The crystal is non conductive in a dry state. When moisture comes in, the protons form OH-bondings and move through the crystal. Empa

    Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

    As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton conductivity is crucial for the latter; protons, i.e. positively charged hydrogen ions, are formed from hydrogen, which is used to power the fuel cell.

  • How Safe is Graphene?

    Biological effects under the microscope. Empa

    Graphene is considered one of the most interesting and versatile materials of our time. The application possibilities inspire both research and industry. But are products containing graphene also safe for humans and the environment? A comprehensive review, developed as part of the European graphene flagship project with the participation of Empa researchers, investigated this question.

  • How to Program Materials

    Ali Gooneie looks at a sample from his most recent research project: electrically conductive polymers. The first calculations for his next project are sketched out on the blackboard. Empa

    Can the properties of composite materials be predicted? Empa scientists have mastered this feat and thus can help achieve research objectives faster. This leads, for instance, to better recycling techniques and electrically conductive synthetic materials for the solar industry. Ali Gooneie simulates on his computer what holds the world together right at its very core: atoms, molecules, molecular chains and bundles – then lumps and fibers, which emerge thereof. With his calculations, the Empa researcher can also explain properties we can feel with our fingertips: smooth and rough surfaces, flexible and rigid materials, heat-conductive substances and insulators.