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09-08-2018 | Engineering + Development | News | Article

2018 TÜV Süd Innovation Award

Nadine Winkelmann

The Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS and 3D-Micromac AG were joint winners of the 2018 TÜV Süd Innovation Award. They received the award for developing a modern laser-based device that enables faster and more flexible sample preparation of materials for microstructure diagnostics.

For accelerated material development and optimum quality control, many materials and components from sectors such as automotive and consumer electronics are examined down to the smallest detail using microstructure diagnostic techniques. Tailoring samples to suitable geometries for examination with these technologies previously required elaborate preparation procedures that were either too inflexible with regard to the achievable shapes or too time-consuming and hence uneconomical. Jointly developed by Fraunhofer IMWS and 3D-Micromac AG, the Micro Prep device can greatly accelerate and reproduce the sample preparation for microstructure diagnostics by using a laser as a photonic tool.

The TÜV Süd testing organisation awarded this technology first place in its 2018 competition. The €50,000 prize, which has been awarded for the second time now, is presented to small and medium-sized companies that have jointly developed a product or service with research institutions and successfully launched it on the market.
"We're very pleased with this award. The TÜV Süd Innovation Award has rewarded our joint intensive efforts to develop a brand new serial product. With its exceptional process stability and intuitive user interface, our device sets new standards in the field of sample preparation for microstructure diagnostics. Micro Prep is a versatile technology that we'll continue to develop for further preparation workflows due to its modular structure," says Prof. Dr. Thomas Höche, Group Manager Nanomaterials and Nanoanalytics at Fraunhofer IMWS and joint developer of Micro Prep.

This device enables athermal processing using the latest laser-based ultrashort pulsed technology. This means that samples with pulse lengths in the picosecond range (one billionth of a second) are correctly shaped and warm up only slightly using this method. The system is suitable for processing semiconductors, metals, ceramics, glasses and composite materials.

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