Where is surface & nanoanalytics used?
Modern research and development is producing more and more high-performance components and materials with ever smaller structures with dimensions down to the nanometer range. Many properties of a material and consequently of a device developed from it are determined by its surface properties. The morphology or topography of the surface and its chemical composition play an essential role – the properties of the first nano- to micrometers of a sample as well as structures of the same size on it are of great importance. Surfaces are exposed to the environmental conditions surrounding them and interact with them chemically and physically: this is where the corrosion of a component comes into play, but also the possible emission of particles from the component to its environment, be it, for example, to drinking water, which is checked by sensors, to body fluids in the case of a medical product, or to the environment in the case of outdoor applications such as photovoltaic systems or car brake discs. If a material is under severe stress, cracks begin to form in the area near the surface and can lead to its destruction. Similarly, technologically and economically important processes such as electroplating, various layer depositions for optics or bonding processes in joining technology are largely determined by the surface properties of the material to be processed. If, for example, an applied coating does not adhere, this may be due to surface contamination. Doping or passivation of components also takes place in the area close to the surface. Thus, the surface is often the starting point for control and failure analyses.
In order to understand, control and optimize a developed material or component or the manufacturing process behind it, the use of nano and surface analytics is indispensable. Especially when questions of quality control, troubleshooting or environmental compatibility arise: Does the intended manufacturing process really lead to the desired result? What is actually on my component? How much of a specifically applied or implanted substance is on or in the component? How is it structured? How does it change through use? How does it interact with its environment?
With the help of various analytical techniques and our competent scientists, we can answer these and many other questions reliably and quickly, thus providing constructive support for your research and development tasks. The individual techniques available for investigations in the CAK laboratories provide different information about the surface. Some provide mainly physical information, others mainly chemical statements. Often, a combination of different analytical methods is helpful to sufficiently understand and evaluate the surface in order to comprehensively answer questions raised.