At TU Wien a wide range of physical analysis methods is available within the central facilities for Electron Microscopy (Universitäre Service-Einrichtung für Transmissionselektronenmikroskopie, USTEM, opens an external URL in a new window), X-Ray Analytics (X-Ray Center, XRC, opens an external URL in a new window) and Surface Analytics (Analytical Instrumentation Center, AIC) offer a broad spectrum of analytical methods.

The following facilities for the preparation and characterization of thin films are available in our research group:

Sputter-plants - Coating of granulates - AFM - Microhardness-tester - Pull-off-tester - Spektrophotometer - Surface energy measurement - High temperature sessile drop device

Two fully equipped magnetron sputter-plants with separate sources for the deposition of metallic as well as non-metallic coatings.

Magnetron sputtering, with separate sources for the production of metallic as well as non-metallic coatings


Magnetron sputtering

Two magnetron sputtering plants with recipients of 400 mm diameter are available. A base pressure of 10-5 Pa (10-7 mbar) can be achieved either by turbomolecular or diffusion pumps. Both plants are equipped with a load lock system which allows for rapid sample transfer. Up to four sputter sources can be implemented and operated simultaneously in both, RF and DC magnetron sputtering modes.

Magnetron sputtering allows for the controlled preparation of films with excellent mechanical, optical, electronic and magnetic properties. In addition a conventional evaporation chamber for the production of organic and inorganic materials is available. The sputter plants can be equipped with a custom built device which allows for the deposition of films on granular media.

Self-constructed insert for deposition of layers on granular media


Deposition of granular media

The special device displayed here allows for the deposition of films on granular media. Cylindrical containers are subjected to a complex planetary motion which guarantees a proper intermixing of the granulates.

Coatings and surfaces are mainly charcterized by:

Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)

Atomic force microscopy for the detection of surface morphology in the nm range


Atomic force microscopy

Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) can be used for imaging the surface morphology of a material in the nm range. Additionally mechanical properties of a surface like local stiffness and local adhesion can be mapped with a lateral resolution of about 10 nm by the high rate assessment of force distance curves (WiTec Pulsed Force Mode, PFM, opens an external URL in a new window). The AFM is implemented in a vacuum chamber so that the sample can be subjected to defined ambient conditions.

Micromechanical properties can be tested by a microhardness indenter integrated in a high performance optical microscope.

Microhardness Indenter, which is integrated into a high-performance optical microscope, for determining mechanical properties


Microhardness Indenter

The optical microscope (Reichert POLYVAR) allows the detection of surface features in the μm range. Materialographic preparates can be investigated by phase contrast and polarization microscopy. Mechanical properties can be assessed by a Anton Paar, opens an external URL in a new window MHT 4 microhardness tester.

Film adhesion strength is measured by a custom built pull-off tester, film thickness and surface roughness are assessed by a profilometer.

Mechanical pull-off tester for determining the adhesion strength of coatings


Pull-off tester

The thickness of a deposited film can rapidly be assessed by a Taylor Hobson, opens an external URL in a new window profilometer with a resolution limit of approx. 2 nm vertical. The smallest reliably detectable film thickness is approximately 10 nm.The profilometer is extremely versatile and can also be used for the assessment of surface roughnesses of basically arbitrarily shaped bodies.

A spectrophotometer allows the determination of optical properties.

The surface properties of different materials can be assessed by surface energy measurement with the sessile drop method.

Surface energy measurement device for the determination of surface properties of various materials


Surface energy measurement device

The surface energy provides important information about technologically relevant quantities as e. g. adhesion or wettability. The present device can be equipped with a heating stage and a goniometer to investigeate the behavior of sessile drops on tilted surfaces.

The wettability of a material by metallic melts can be measured by a high temperature sessile drop device.

High temperature sessile drop device for measuring the wettability of materials


High temperature sessile drop device

The wettability of materials by metallic melts at elevated temperatures (>1000K) is important for soldering and brazing processes. The present equipment allows for the transfer of samples under vacuum directly from a deposition plant to the measurement device without exposure to the ambient.