Why thin films and coatings?
Whether you use your computer, tablet or smartphone, whether your car consumes less gasoline because of low gear friction, or whether your eyeglasses look good because they are not reflecting lights, there are always thin films and coatings that make these everyday products functioning. 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 underlying silicon wafer. And the bio-response of surface-treated implants is specifically tuned for optimal acceptance by human cell tissue. The development of new thin films and their combinations therefore often pave the way towards products that ease our daily lives.
Research & Projects
The Coating Technology group focuses on the fabrication of thin film materials with enhanced functional properties using advanced deposition processes with the aim to drive innovations in different fields ranging from hard-coatings to ceramics and compound semiconductors. Of particular interest for our research are high-energy non-equilibrium physical vapor deposition techniques such as high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS). Recent activities in this area include the metallization of polymer implants for improved osseo-integration as well as the development of piezoelectric nitrides. The group is furthermore embedded in a larger Empa coating research community applying coating technologies in various domains and applications.