Competence Centre for Materials Characterisation

of the Technical University of Darmstadt in the Department of Materials Science


Extended contract research from one source

The Competence Centre for Materials Characterisation within the Institute of Materials Science offers companies and research centres a great variety of analytical and structure investigation services.

In the frame of the Material Forschungsverbund Rhein-Main (MatFoRM) we also have a strong cooperation with other groups form different departments like the Materials Testing Laboratory Darmstadt (Staatliche Materialprüfungsanstalt, MPA) and the Fraunhofer-Institute for Durability and System Reliability (LBF). MatFoRM-TUD is a network in material sciences and material technologies in the Rhein-Main region. This network opens the door to university research and development activities in material science and application. MatFoRM-TUD offers interdisciplinary research within the complete spectrum: from the material to the component and to the system.

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Chemical Analysis

ln terms of chemical analysis we are focusing on position resolving methods, chemical bonding analysis and trace analysis. The highest position resolving method can be realised by Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (EELS) within a Transmission Microscope (TEM) where precipitates in the range of a few nm can be analysed. The Secondary Ion Mass Spectroscopy (SIMS) can be used to analyse samples lateral and depth resolved with very good detection limits. Chemical bonding and surface sensitive investigations are performed by X-ray photoelectron spectrometry (XPS). Beside the position resolving methods we also offer bulk analytic methods like X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRS), atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) and inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP).

Structure Analysis

To investigate die structure of materials various x-ray diffraction methods and electron-rnicrosuopical methods are provided. More than ten x-ray diffractometers are available to analyse the structure, texture and also strain and stress in various environmental conditions (XBD, GIXD). The density, thickness and roughness of films and film systerns can be analysed by x-ray reflectornetry (XRR). The conventional Transmission Elec1:ron Microscopy (TEM) can be used to analyse crystal phases and orientations by electron diffraction methods. Crystal planes can also be observed directly by high resolution TEM to analyse grain boundaries as well as defects.

Topographic Methods

Various High Resolution Scanning Electron Microscopes [HSEM) are available to analyse surfaces with a resolution in the nm range. The HSEM and SEM microscopes are also equipped with an EDX system to analyse the chemical composition at a local spot or to record a two dimensional element map. To analyse materials at various pressures an Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM) is also provided.

Thermal Analysis

To study the material properties at different temperatures a wide range of thermal analytics is available. The change in volume or length can be analysed by Dilatomerry [DIL] or Thermo Mechanical Analysis (TMA), the heat difference by Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), the change of mass by Thermo Gravimetric Analysis (TGA) and the thermal diffusivity and thermal conductivity by Laser Flash Analysis (LFA).

Mechanical and Electrical analysis

The mechanical properties of metals and ceramics can be tested under various conditions. Beside tension and pressure it is also possible to analyse the flexibility and the fracrure toughness. To study the electrical properties it is possible to record the characteristic line of the current vs. voltage or the luminescence of materials like OLEDs.

Combination of Methods

In many cases it is not sufficient to use just one single method. The main advantage is that all above mentioned characterisation methods are available in one department and can be combined individually Especially the position resolving methods to characterise the structure and the chemical composition should be combined with the measurements of the various properties of the material.