Functional surfaces provide products and materials from a wide range of technical fields with new properties and thus enable new areas of application.

Among other things, we develop functional coatings with non-stick and antimicrobial properties, barrier coatings, biocompatible and bioactive surfaces and functional sensor coatings. For this purpose, we use gas phase processes (CVD, PVD, PECVD), wet chemical processes and combined processes.

  • Hydrophobic/Hydrophilic
  • Biobased coatings
  • Photocatalytic activity
  • Sensor coatings
  • Anti-icing coatings
  • Anti-stick coatings
  • Anti-scratch/anti-wear
  • Antimicrobial/antifouling
  • Barrier
  • Adhesion promoter/interlayer/bonding
  • Metallization of surfaces
  • Friction reducing
  • Biologization for improved cell adhesion
  • Drug release
  • Therapeutic coatings
  • Anti-fogging



Anti-ice coatings

Plasma coatings, embossed or printed structures can be used to protect surfaces against ice formation. Examples of applications include aircraft wings or wind turbine rotor blades protected against icing. The IGB has also developed an easy-to-use self-adhesive anti-icing film.


Barrier layers

At Fraunhofer IGB, we produce barrier layers that enhance the barrier effect of the plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET) against water vapor and oxygen by a factor of more than 1000 compared to the untreated material.



Functional anti-fogging coatings using low-pressure plasma processes can be used to prevent a disturbing visual impression caused by condensation of water droplets. The deposition can be done on flat substrates as well as on 3D parts.


Dehesive layers for improved removal of residual contents from packaging systems

In most cases, fluid products such as food or personal care products cannot be completely removed from their packaging. At Fraunhofer IGB, we develop surface modifications for packaging materials that reduce the adhesion of filling goods.


Improved adhesion properties

The adhesion between the substrate and an overlying layer plays a decisive role in bonding, printing and coatings such as painting and metallization. Several factors influence the adhesion properties and minimal surface contamination can drastically reduce adhesion values. In order to achieve good adhesion performance, the pre-treatment of surfaces using plasma technology proved to be an alternative to conventional procedures.


Antimicrobial coatings

To prevent biofilm formation, we are investigating the effect of naturally occurring antimicrobially active compounds such as plant extracts, cationic peptides and enzymes. We develop coating systems for long-term and targeted release and, especially in the case of biomolecules, for preserving their function over a longer period of time.



Wettability of biomaterials: Hydrophilization of hard contact lenses

The surface of contact lenses can be modified in order to achieve improved comfort and an almost closed film of lachrymal fluid can form. At the same time the formation of protein-containing deposits is reduced. The procedure can be transferred to all polymer surfaces requiring good wettability which come into contact with body fluids, such as stents and catheters.


Biologization of surfaces for improved cell adhesion

The colonization of surfaces with biological cells is important in cell culture technology or for the ingrowth of prosthetic implants. We develop strategies for the biologization of surfaces and modify biopolymers such as heparin, gelatine, hyaluronic acid so that they bind covalently or adsorptively to plastic or metal surfaces.

Another topic is to avoid uncontrolled protein adsorption.


Improved wound healing

We develop surface modifications or formulations to positively influence wound healing after skin injuries. By binding amino groups, surfaces are modified in such a way that primary human skin cells adhere and grow better. In addition, particle-based formulations can help to release active ingredients in wound dressings.



Foils and textiles

The application areas of films for packaging or surface protection bring with them a great need for customized surface finishes. These include coatings with gas permeation barriers, but also the chemical finishing of surfaces to adjust wetting properties or bondability.


Sensor coatings

We develop coatings for gas sensors to selectively measure environmental gases. In addition, we functionalize the surfaces of microarrays and biosensors.