SEAL - Surface Engineering and Analysis Laboratories

Modern materials research is increasingly dependent on an ever more precise knowledge and control of physical and chemical properties. In recent decades, therefore, there has been a steady increase in the need for techniques that allow detailed insight into and targeted adjustment of the physicochemical properties of a material or materials. In this context, the surface is of particular importance. As the area of the solid that interacts directly with the environment, the surface has a significant influence on various material-specific properties. These include, for example, the corrosion resistance, the wettability or the catalytic activity of a material.

The SEAL at the Clausthal Center for Materials Engineering covers a wide range of different methods and techniques from the field of surface and material analysis as well as surface preparation. With the methods available at SEAL, materials and in particular material surfaces can be specifically investigated and functionalized with respect to their structural and physicochemical properties. The analytical methods can be used, for example, to obtain information about the elment composition, existing chemical bonds or the topography. The available methods cover different information depths as well as spatial resolutions. Thus, both depth-resolved investigations (a few nanometers to several micrometers) and local point analyses (in the nanometer range) can be performed. On the surface preparation side, techniques are available for targeted material removal, for coating as well as for cleaning and functionalization of surfaces. The potential use of the various techniques extends along the entire value chain, from basic research to applied issues, whereby all common material classes from metals, ceramics, glasses to polymer materials and also organic materials can usually be addressed.