Surface and thin-film analytics

"God made the bulk; the surface was invented by the devil."
(Wolfgang Pauli, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1945)

Material surfaces and their coatings are of increasing importance for innovative products. The structural and chemical composition of the first nanometers up to several micrometers of a product determine its functional and aesthetic properties. Almost all materials can be coated, e.g. metals, plastics, ceramics, glass, textiles, semiconductors, foils, and many more. Mechanical, thermal or chemical-physical surface treatments of parts and components can vastly optimize their properties – for better corrosion protection, surface hardness, wear resistance, processability, adhesive strength, bio- and cell compatibility, cleanability, anti-fouling quality, optical characteristics, or simply a more aesthetic appearance.

The characterization of such layers is indispensable for product development, process control, quality assurance, or even for damage case analysis. Besides checking the coatings, surface pretreatment of the substrates (surface purity, roughness, etc.) is also decisive. Thanks to the wide range of methods and a wealth of experience, we already support customers from various sectors, such as electroplating, glass coating, optics, microelectronics, PVD and CVD coating, medical devices, assembly and connection technology, the jewelry industry, and much more.

The SGS INSTITUT FRESENIUS offers you a coordinated and comprehensive analysis portfolio and numerous imaging methods. With our technology, we can provide you with competent support in the following areas:

  • Characterization of structures and layers:
    • Composition, homogeneity (lateral and vertical), structural integration, edge effects
    • Layer thickness
    • Interfaces between layers and substrates
    • Impurities
    • Roughness
    • Corrosion protection (e.g. electroplating)
  • Quality assurance:
    • Random investigation of the target and actual conditions of surface pretreatments, cleanliness, composition and layer structure
    • Characterization of raw materials
    • Process and media analytics
  • Surface cleanliness:
    • Inorganic/metallic impurities
    • Organic impurities (e.g. silicones/silicone oils, PDMS, greases/oils, adhesive residues)
  • Locally limited surface defects:
    • Optical abnormalities such as stains, clouding, discoloration
    • Dendrite and whisker formation
    • Local delamination, wetting errors, and corrosion
  • Failure and damage analysis:
    • Problems with layer bonding, wetting, adhesion
    • Discoloration
    • Corrosion
    • Delamination and aging effects
    • Soldering problems, e.g. on functional layers
    • Whisker and dendrite formation


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01109 Dresden

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