Thin-film inspection

In-process control of thin layers for quality assurance

Thin coatings and their properties can be crucial for the quality of products. Often, such thin coatings must be applied to large surfaces at high speed. Incorrectly or incompletely coated surfaces impair further processing or the function of the products.

For the functionality of coatings applied, for example, to protect against corrosion or as adhesion promoters on sheets or other surfaces, compliance with the target thickness and composition is essential. 

When it comes to the quality assurance of modern plastic products, the inspection of functional coatings with thicknesses of 10 nm to 100 nm plays an important role. Non-destructive inspection of the coatings during production is crucial here.

Our systems measure the thickness of coatings resulting from a multitude of processes down to the nanometer range.

Fraunhofer IPM develops technologies for monitoring layers and coatings – comprehensively, quickly and directly in production. Our systems measure the thickness of coatings resulting from a multitude of processes down to the nanometer range.

We have experience with a wide range of coating processes:

  • Plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and atomic layer deposition (ALD)
  • Physical vapor deposition (PVD), such as electron beam evaporation, thermal evaporation or sputtering
  • Galvanic processes
  • Sol-gel coatings
  • Spraying, painting, dipping or rotational coating (spin coating)

To inspect the layers produced at production speed, we use various laser-based and camera-based methods, including

  • Fluorescence measurement technology
  • Infrared reflectometry or interferometry
  • Laser-induced plasma spectroscopy

Specific applications and methods


Film Inspect

Ultra-thin coatings

100 percent control of ultra-thin coatings through infrared reflectometry


ANALIZEsingle / ANALIZEmulti

Coating thickness on component surfaces

Rapid detection of coating thicknesses using laser-induced plasma spectroscopy



Coating inspection of surfaces

Measuring the cleanliness and coating of surfaces by means of fluorescence measurement technology