Materials and Energy
The research division bundles issues of plasma applications in the areas of energy and production technology. This currently comprises application areas in the generation of functional coatings, thin layers and catalytically active materials by means of plasma processes, the plasma chemical synthesis as well as topics of the power and process engineering. Topics in the frame of the energy transition like, on one hand, new material components for hydrogen synthesis and storage, photovoltaics and battery techniques and, on the other hand, the increase of capacity and reliability of components of the energy distribution system are considered in particular.
Fundamental studies currently concern the surface modification by means of non-thermal plasmas at atmospheric pressure as well as the interaction of thermal plasmas with electrodes and walls. A unique aspect of the division's strategy is the systematic linking of sophisticated scientific plasma modelling with spatially and temporally high resolution diagnostic methods for application-relevant issues in the aforementioned topics by using the most modern laboratories for experiments.
In addition, emphasis is placed on the development of specific measuring methods for various process and chemical engineering applications from vacuum processes to arc welding. These methods either provide the analysis of the underlying physical and chemical processes or yield conditions and new options for process control, automation and the increase of process reliability and safety.
In the context of the application of technical plasmas in surface technology, innovative plasma processes in connection with the layer and surface properties are researched, experimentally characterised and simulated.
The aim is to produce novel, stable and environmentally friendly nanomaterials and thin films for technical applications, including hydrogen and battery technology.
The focus is on the physics and chemistry of reactive plasmas and the development of new diagnostics and methods to control plasma chemical processes for synthesis and surface treatment. The basic understanding of technological processes, such as plasma nitriding or biomass utilisation, is being improved in order to optimise their applications.
The focus is on investigations on thermal plasmas. These find technological applications in process engineering and occur as discharge phenomena in electrical power engineering and high voltage engineering. In particular, the development of powerful, energy-efficient and resource-saving switch and process technologies is pursued.