Interfacial Processes and Corrosion
Our research focusses on the investigation of interfacial processes and the development of novel surface structuring and functionalization methods. The macroscopic properties and performance of materials are dictated by the processes running at the material-environment interface. Understanding how processes occur and how they can be influenced at the molecular level gives us the necessary insight and tools to tailor material properties for a specific application.
We apply in situ microscopic and spectroscopic techniques coupled with electrochemistry to investigate the degradation of energy materials, the corrosion mechanisms of technical lightweight alloys and to analyze microbiologically influenced corrosion processes. We utilize this mechanistical knowledge to develop laser-based techniques for surface micro- and nano-structuring and novel thin-film coating systems for corrosion and fouling protection.
Ultra-short laser pulses offer the means to establish nanostructures with structural widths beneath the diffraction limits of traditional optical technology. This enables surfaces to be designed for specific functions and to be adapted to the needs of various technical and biomedical applications. This technique offers a remarkably high level of flexibility in terms of the achievable geometry and the materials. We also utilize our process knowhow for the assessment of safety risks of laser-surface treatment technologies, in process standardization as well as for consulting the industry and regulatory institutions.
As technical components are subjected to coupled stresses during service conditions, we focus our efforts on the development of testing methods simulating these scenarios. By directly coupling a tensile testing stage to a diverse set of electrochemical and microscopic techniques we investigate the resistance of materials to coupled mechanical (static and dynamic) and corrosive load at different length scales reaching from centimeter down to nanometer.
Fields of expertise
- Analysis of corrosion and microbially influenced corrosion (MIC) processes by means of in situ spectro-electrochemical methods
- High-throughput corrosion analysis by means of multi-electrode based techniques
- Investigation of corrosion processes under combined mechanical/corrosive load
- Micro- and nano-structuring of metals, semiconductors, dielectric materials and composites using femtosecond and nanosecond laser pulses
- Utilization of laser-based technologies for cleaning and decontamination, especially for the preservation of cultural assets
- Investigation of deformation and corrosion mechanisms of lightweight alloys, steels and additively manufactured materials
- Analysis of mechanisms of microbially influenced corrosion (MIC)
- Investigation of corrosion and delamination processes at buried interfaces under technical and model coatings
- Investigation of the interaction mechanisms of short and ultra-short laser pulses with materials with a focus on surface nano-structuring
- Analysis of material parameters under laser-induced extreme stress conditions
- Laser safety, analysis of X-ray emissions during laser surface treatments
Range of services/technical equipment
- Electrochemical techniques with high spatial resolution (Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy (SECM), Scanning Vibrating Electrode (SVET), Scanning Kelvin Probe (SKP))
- In situ spectro-electrochemical setups: Attenuated Total Reflection Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), Raman Spectroscopy, X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) in liquid environment, coupled to electrochemical analysis
- Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) with integrated tensile stage (max. force: 5 kN, static/dynamic stretching/compression): Topography, Kelvin Probe Volta Potential Mapping, Adhesion/Stiffness analysis, Force Spectroscopy
- Multielectrode analyzer for high-throughput corrosion analysis
- Surface z-potential measurements using streaming current/potential technique
- Electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance (e-QCM) with dissipation monitoring
- Laser technology in the femtosecond range (30 fs pulse duration @ 800 nm wavelength & 925 fs pulse duration @ 1030 nm wavelength)
- Nanosecond-range cleaning lasers (1064 nm and 532 nm)
- Optical microscopy
Publications of the division