Thin film inspection at production rate

Inspecting functional coatings between 10 and 100 nm in thickness during production plays an important role in the quality assurance of modern-day plastic products. Packaging materials, as well as medical products, are coated in order to create a barrier or to achieve particular surface characteristics. These barrier layers – such as SiOx or AlOx – are crucial for the quality of packaged contents and products, which is why inline, non-destructive inspection of the coatings is so essential.

Infrared optical characteristics provide information about the thickness und composition of barrier layers

Due to the physical properties and the thinness of the coating material, conventional image processing is not possible. Other typical optical methods for measuring thin films, such as reflectometry or ellipsometry, also don’t quite meet the requirements. Fraunhofer IPM’s Film-Inspect inspection system measures these extremely thin coatings quickly, accurately and without damage – even for 3D surfaces. The system can be expanded for parallel inline process monitoring. Film-Inspect uses specific, thickness-dependent infrared optical characteristics of the coating for the measurement.

Recyclable food packaging:
quality control for nanocoatings


RE-USE research project

Fraunhofer IPM is developing an optical measurement system enabling the inline quality control of barrier layers. This increases the recyclability of food packaging.

Focus application

Inspection of plastics and packaging