Materials testing

Systematic control of coating processes

Component surfaces often fulfill specific functions. Wear on surfaces or defective functional coatings can impair the function of a component. With the constantly increasing quality requirements for all components in industrial production, the demands on surface and coating quality and treatment are therefore also increasing.

Fraunhofer IPM develops inline measurement systems for analyzing the elemental composition of metals and functional coatings. The systems are based on laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) and determine the elemental composition and homogeneity of surface coatings reliably and precisely using a few light pulses from a short-pulse laser. Based on the measurement data, the coating process can be controlled if necessary.

Quality assurance of modern plastics and packaging

Inspecting ultra-thin coatings – e.g. for use with food packaging or medical products – plays an important role in the quality assurance of modern-day plastic products. Due to the physical properties and the thinness of the coating material, however, conventional image processing is not suitable for this purpose. However, optical contrasts are not solely restricted to the visible spectral range: plastic products often reveal their properties already in the infrared range.

Fraunhofer IPM therefore uses infrared cameras or spectrometers to examine the material composition of plastics or to make visible concealed elements. An inspection system developed by Fraunhofer IPM measures the quality of extremely thin coatings quickly, accurately and without damage – even for 3D surfaces.

Quality assurance by means of quantum technology

Quantum sensors open up new possibilities for materials testing. Cracks or defects in ferromagnetic materials generate stray magnetic fields. With optically pumped magnetometers (OPM), we can measure damage very sensitively and with high spatial resolution based on their magnetic fingerprint – and thus detect defects before they grow into larger damage. Unlike other optical methods, quantum magnetometers also trace defects inside a sample.

Systems for materials testing


ANALIZEsingle / ANALIZEmulti

The optical analysis techniques record layer thickness and element composition on the component surface within milliseconds per measuring point.



100 percent inspection of ultra-thin coatings

Ultra-thin coatings measured quickly, precisely and non-destructively – even on three-dimensionally shaped surfaces.


Optically pumped magnetometers (OPM)

Using highly sensitive quantum magnetometers, defects in metallic components, for example, can be detected at a very early stage.