Coatings for protective and medical applications:

The group focuses on the development of thin films and coatings with properties enhanced by nanoscale effects for technical and medical applications. The coatings are fabricated by classical magnetron sputtering, reactive sputtering, high-impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) and plasma-assisisted chemical vapour deposition (PACVD). The transfer from lab to applications throught the use of both a medium scale industrial HiPIMS coating system (Ingenia S3p) and lab-scale UHV sputter deposition systems. For the analysis of the films structure and morphology we use XRD, SEM, STEM, and AFM. Chemical properties are assessed by XPS, ToF-SIMS, and RBS. Additional methods such as Kelvin Probe Microscopy, Magnetic Force Microscopy, Piezo Force Microscopy, and ellipsometry are further available. The experimental work is complemented by ab-initio and molecular dynamics simulations performed in collaboration with the Empa Modeling group.

Why thin films and coatings?

Whether you use your computer, tablet or smartphone, if your car consumes less gasoline because of low gear friction, when your eyeglasses look good because they aren't reflecting: it is always thin films and coatings that make these daily life's product work as they should.

Thin films and coatings enable us to render the properties of the zones near a surface to be very different from the underlying material. Hard coatings may protect the underlying softer part from premature wear; the electronic properties of thin films in microelectronics are very different from those of the silicon chip, and the bio-response of surface-treated implants may be specifically tuned for optimal acceptance by human cell tissue.

The development of new thin films and their combinations are a therefore an important way of promoting technology towards products and processes that ease our daily lives.