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Our core expertise: functionalized polymer surfaces

The focus of the development activities of the Fraunhofer POLO® Alliance is on technologies and materials for the functionalization of surfaces, and in particular polymer surfaces.

Process control

New technologies allow the 100% monitoring of coating and thin layer production processes in the production line. Defects in sub-µm coatings can be detected, the coating homogeneity can be monitored, and the distribution of layer thicknesses in multilayer films can be controlled, to name just a few examples.

Bio-based materials and biopolymers

We adapt processes to coat and modify surfaces of bio-based materials and biopolymers. We also develop new functional coating materials using components from renewable sources.

High and ultra-high barrier layers

The flexible, transparent, high and ultra-high barrier laminates developed by the Fraunhofer POLO® are amongst the best currently available in the marketplace. By combining inorganic barrier layers (e.g. Al2O3) with inorganic-organic barrier layers, flexible and transparent laminates are created that have extremely high barrier properties to gases, vapors, and any migrating monomers. This has been proven in various independent tests.

Protection for sensitive surfaces

Scratch-resistant and abrasion-resistant surfaces make displays and other touch-sensitive products suitable for daily life by protecting the sensitive surfaces. Besides functionalizing polymer surfaces, the POLO® Alliance is also developing new applications by functionalizing, for example, glass, ceramics, metals, and electronic components.

Quality assurance via intelligent layers

Indicators incorporated into packaging films allow, for example, the early detection of oxygen or oxidative degradation products. The transparent indicator films developed by the Fraunhofer POLO® hence enhance product safety and protect companies and customers.

Clean, hygienic, and safe – antimicrobial layers developed by POLO®

Making surfaces not only self-cleaning but also resistant to microorganisms, resistant to microbe colonization, and having the ability to kill germs helps to set hygiene standards and avoid precarious "dirty corners" and contamination on and in buildings, etc..

Metallization of plastics

We develop Cr(VI)-free technologies for improving the adhesion of metals to plastics which are compatible with PVD processes or alternatively with galvanic wet processing. Typical materials include ABS, ABS / PC, polyimide, and polyolefins.

Troubleshooting and analytical services

For our research and development work we use a wide range of analytical and testing techniques including surface and thin film analysis, materials analysis and testing, as well as permeation measurements and modelling. We offer most of these techniques as services to our customers and add a profound expertise in polymer materials and surfaces.