Tribological and Functional Coatings

One of the keys to reducing friction and protecting against wear is to coat components with diamond-like carbon (DLC) or hydrocarbon layers. Further functions of components like reflection, sensors and barrier effect are adjusted via PVD coatings. With the help of in-built elements that modify networks into the plasma coating, we can create optimum lubricant wettability and prevent unwanted adhesion. Our process technology, with the aid of plasma diagnosis, is capable of controlling both the inherent and the topographical properties of amorphous hydrocarbon layers as well as binary and ternary hard materials. 

What we offer



  • Deposition of hard, thick DLC layers via high rate CVD
  • Metallic, carbidic, nitridic and oxidic functional coatings, MAX phases
  • Coating of plastics and molds
  • Production and qualification of in-situ structured coatings
  •  Mechanical and tribological characterization of thin films
  • Thin film sensor technology
  •  Electrically high-insulating coatings
  • Coatings for diamond heteroepitaxy
  •  (High temperature) corrosion protection coatings
  • Development and characterization of hydrogen diffusion barriers




PACVD systems engineering


With specially developed and patented coating equipment, fast-growing DLC layers can be applied on components at high plasma density with efficient processes. The systems are adaptable to the geometry and size of the components; complex component shapes can be coated evenly all around. Due to the two-chamber principle (inert gas chamber and reactive gas chamber), the systems are low-maintenance...


Mesoscale film growth simulation


The development of surface structure in the deposition process and the influence of deposition conditions on structural development are examined using mesoscopic growth models. 

By simulating the interaction of deposition and transport of materials on the surface, the emergence of surface structures can be modeled on the computer and examined in a level of detail which is impossible experimentally... 


In-situ structured DLC layers


An advanced coating technology permits the setting of a specific topography during the deposition without prior structuring. This leads to substantial progress in friction and wear reduction and therefore to the reduction of lubricants and release agents. The reliability and service life of the drive and system components are significantly increased...


Multi-layer DLC-BN layers


DLC layers can be largely affected by doping and deposition parameters. The positive properties of individual layers can be combined through a combination of different layers in a multilayer coating structure. The wear resistance and temperature stability can be increased by introducing high wear-resistant (amorphous or hexagonal) boron nitride layers...


Functional nanostructures for optics and microsystems

Component function can be controlled to a great extent through surface structuring. Optical, medical and tooling technology applications each require different surface textures on a micro and nano scale. These are generated by exploiting the self-organization effects during the growth of PVD layers. For instance: surfaces can be made water and dirt proof, the cell adhesion on the surface of an implant can be controlled, and polymer components ...


Forming layers

We research anti-adhesive, contact-inert and highly temperature-resistant layer systems for the precision hot forming of glass and polymers. For mineral glass, we mainly use highly temperature-resistant sintered systems and layers containing precious metals. We also develop organic layer materials for polymer processing that improve demolding conditions and prolong tool service life. We develop innovative layer-by-layer coating processes for the complex coatings of high-aspect structures...


Layer analysis of coating performance

The operational behavior of layers is largely determined by the deposition conditions during application and the resultant material properties such as chemical composition, microstructure and stress state. Material compositions are characterized in their relationship to depth using optical glow discharge spectroscopy. Temperature-dependent residual stress states in the layers are identified via a heated interferometer. The analyses enable us to identify...


Measuring and controlling
hydrogen permeation


With the growing importance of power-to-gas and fuel cell applications, metallic components often have to be protected against hydrogen embrittlement. Examples are bipolar plates in SOFC fuel cells, which are exposed to corrosive acid and hydrogen atmospheres...

Tribological and Functional Coatings publications


Contributions to scientific journals, books and conferences as well as dissertations and project reports...