Guiding Principles

Institut, IMWS, Vordereingang, Eingang
© Fraunhofer IMWS
The main building of the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS in Halle.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS is a methodologically oriented Fraunhofer Institute in the material sciences and materials engineering disciplines. The Fraunhofer IMWS is a contact for industry and public clients for all issues concerning materials and systems – with the objective of increasing material efficiency and profitability and to use resources carefully.

The work of the Fraunhofer IMWS is aimed at identifying defects and weakpoints in materials, components and systems on the micro- and nanoscale, to clarify their cause and to offer clients solutions based on the outcomes. The institute's industrial clients come, among other things, from the microelectronics and microsystem engineering, photovoltaics, plastics engineering sectors, the chemical industry, energy engineering, automotive engineering and the aircraft industry. This work is accompanied by the further development of methods to shed light on microstructures. Together with analysis equipment manufacturers, precise-fitting equipment configurations can be developed, so that in future industrial clients can identify and avoid the source of defects themselves.

As an institute of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Fraunhofer IMWS promotes and conducts internationally networked, application-orientated research for the direct benefit of industry and to the advantage of society. It makes important contributions to material efficiency, careful use of resources and profitability and thus faces the central challenge of the 21st century; the sustainability of all areas of life and in particular, efficient handling of limited raw materials. At the same time it thus contributes to the competitiveness of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany and Europe.

The Fraunhofer IMWS sets itself the highest scientific and technical standards. It prepares cost-efficient and quality-assured, high-quality innovative solutions for its clients. In its core areas of expertise, microstructure diagnostics and microstructure design, the Fraunhofer IMWS is the leader within the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and is recognized internationally. The Fraunhofer IMWS offers its employees personal development opportunities and supports them in their scientific and entrepreneurial qualification.


Microstructure diagnostics – discovered by Fraunhofer IMWS

Miskrokopie ultra Mikrostruktur Forschung
© Fraunhofer IMWS
Researchers at the Fraunhofer IMWS gain insights down to the smallest level using, among other things, an atomic microscope.

Excellent work on clarifying microstructure has been conducted at the Halle location since the 1960s in the predecessor establishments of the Fraunhofer IMWS. Since 1992, the Fraunhofer IMWS has invested more than euro 35 million in equipment for obtaining insights into and clarifying microstructure. The institute of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft thus has the most extensive equipment for microstructure elucidation.

We use it to determine the microstructural material and component characteristics down to atomic level and the resulting properties during use. We make statements regarding material compositions, grain and crystalline structures, flaw and defect formations and reaction and wear processes. Apart from the development of microstructure-based technology, the Institute concentrates on the development of new screening methods with high throughput rates.

We correlate the microstructure with local mechanical, electrical and thermophysical properties and thus make capacity reservoirs usable. Our main focus is on semiconductors, polymers and biological materials.

Microstructure design – designed by Fraunhofer IMWS

Profil Nachhaltigkeit Verbesserung Verbindung Gummi
© Fraunhofer IMWS
The composition of fillers in rubber composites is optimized in the IMWS - thus enabling fuel-efficient tyres.

Our understanding and die command of microstructure enables us to intervene in fundamental material properties. With the help of microstructure design we input the material know-how we have already acquired during the development phase and support our clients at the start of the value-adding chain with precise-fitting materials, components and systems for the respective use. The Fraunhofer IMWS thus makes a decisive contribution to resource efficiency and the competitiveness of its clients.

Equipment development – engineered by Fraunhofer IMWS

Geräteentwicklung Fortschritt Innovation
© Fraunhofer IMWS
Scientists of the Fraunhofer IMWS have developed the microPREP, with which samples for microscopy can be processed faster.

Successful microstructure analysis for the benefit of our clients is only possible by using high-calibre instruments. Complex issues require precise-fitting equipment and so, based on our many years’ of experience with existing techniques, we are becoming increasingly involved in the development of new equipment. To achieve this, longstanding cooperations with our partners in industry are indispensable.

Quality management

We would like our clients to be satisfied and receive the best possible support from us. We are therefore one of the some 20 Fraunhofer Institutes, which are certified to ISO 9001 or other standards.

Many of our clients are themselves accredited or certified and may only place orders or award contracts to laboratories and institutes that are also certified. We work to a quality management system, which is certified to ISO 9001:2008. Our quality management system ensures that our projects can be traced back precisely from the report to the measurement or test results.

With our quality management system we make it easier for our employees to familiarize themselves with their work and optimize ongoing work processes. With clearly defined responsibilities, our processes are very easy to comprehend and reproduce transparent to all - including possible stand-ins.