Site: Institute for New Materials (INM)
Im Stadtwald - Gebäude 43
D-66123 Saarbrucken, Germany
Tel: (49) 681-9300 312/313; Fax: (49) 681-9300 223
http://www.inm-gmbh.de/

Date Visited: 13 October 1997

WTEC: J. Mendel (report author)

Hosts:

BACKGROUND

Founded in 1988, the Institute for New Materials (INM) is located within the University of the Saarland. Currently, the Institute has 280 scientists and technologists who develop new materials that industry will need for the future. The institute's purpose is to further the utilization of new high technology materials on a large scale. It is a nonprofit limited liability company with institutional sponsorship.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT HIGHLIGHTS

At INM, research and development comprises basic research on highly innovative, high risk, long term programs as a basis for new technologies. The goal is to reduce the cycle time of 10-15-year programs (concept to commercialization). Products and processes are developed in close cooperation with industrial partners, who often provide the necessary financing. Since 1990, INM follows the scientific approach of integrating inorganic synthesis with chemical nanotechnology.

In addition to metals, nonmetal inorganic materials, and organic polymers of a singular nature, it is now possible to produce chemical composite materials on the molecular and nanoscale level. Processes such as sol-gel are used, in which liquid starting materials are utilized at low temperatures for nanoscale metal, ceramic, glass, and semiconductor particles. INM cites these high-interest features for preparing new materials as nanoparticles:

SPECIFIC PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

Dr. Rolf Clasen is currently preparing glass powders via the colloidal gel route. The advantages for this process are high purity powders.

Also in this same laboratory the following efforts are taking place:

ROLE OF NANOSTRUCTURE SCIENCE WITHIN INM

INM is focusing on four basic areas for spin-off and adaptation towards commercialization:

  1. New functional surfaces with nanomers: included are properties such as corrosion protection, wettability, coloration, micropatterned surfaces, porosity, or the ability for selective absorption of molecules.
  2. New materials for optical applications: properties of lasers and ceramics are combined with those of polymers. Such features as optical filters, transparent conducting layers, materials for optical telecommunications, photochromic layers, and holographic image storage are under investigation.
  3. Ceramic technologies: a simple precipitation process such as sol-gel provides for pilot-scale production of agglomerate-free powder.
  4. Glass technologies: chemical incorporation of metal colloids with intelligent properties into glasslike structures are clearly possible.

EQUIPMENT

INM has available the following characterization tools:

1. HR-TEM     7. X-Ray Diffractometry

2. HR-SEM     8. GC/MS

3. EDXS         9. Laser Lab

4. AFM         10. Rheology Analyzing System

5. NMR         11. Mechanical Material Testing Facilities

6. SAXS        12. Optical Testing

SERVICES

Listed below are services INM performs:

  • Consulting
  • Project Implementation
  • Project Definition
  • Technical Development
  • Project Formulation
  • Quality & Certification
  • Contract Assistance
  • Pilot Production
  • Patent Search
  • Troubleshooting
  • CONCLUDING REMARKS

    The emerging new technologies under study at INM will play a dominant role in the 21st Century. Nanomaterials will be incorporated into technical components and systems in most sectors of the technology. They thus become powerful tools in the preparation of specialized materials.


    Published: September 1999; WTEC Hyper-Librarian