About Us

Materials and Lasers – Competence with a System

Fraunhofer IWS develops complex system solutions in materials and laser technology. We define ourselves as idea drivers developing customized solutions based on laser applications, functionalized surfaces and material and process innovations – from easy-to-integrate custom solutions to cost-efficient solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises to industry-ready one-stop solutions. Our sector research focuses on aerospace, energy and environmental technology, automotive, medical and mechanical engineering, toolmaking, electrical engineering and microelectronics, and photonics and optics. In our five future and innovation fields of battery technology, hydrogen technology, surface functionalization, photonic production systems and additive manufacturing, we are already creating the basis today for the technological answers of tomorrow.

Our drive: fast solutions for industrial practice

The essential motivation for all Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft members is to transfer state-of-the-art research results directly into industrial application. Inspired by this idea, we work every day to find answers to customers' and partners' requirements. Learn more about our service portfolio, possible cooperation forms, our mission statement and details of how we can research and develop solutions for industry and society together with you.



The Saxon state capital is not only worth a visit because of its history and architecture – Fraunhofer IWS also has its headquarters here. The institute has a close partnership with Technischen Universität Dresden and is a founding member of the network of excellence DRESDEN-concept.



Fraunhofer IWS Application Center for Optical Metrology and Surface Technologies AZOM bridges the gap between the requirements of the regional economy and the latest research approaches in optical metrology, image processing and biophotonics.



Fraunhofer IWS is represented as a cooperation partner with a project group directly at the Dortmunder OberflächenCentrum DOC®. Key areas of research focus on surface coating, e.g. to optimize bipolar plate production or corrosion protection and scratch resistance.


Cooperation partners

Fraunhofer IWS fosters a successful exchange with international cooperation partners in the USA and Poland. The main focus there has been placed on topics with regard to "coatings", "application and system development" as well as "additive manufacturing".

Our vision forms the core of Fraunhofer IWS' orientation and defines the daily goal of our activities. The institute's key competencies are linked to these research areas: processes and technologies, materials and systems engineering. These technologies and expertise fields are arranged along the following three dimensions:

  • Our scientific expertise focuses on the technology fields of Cutting and Joining, Additive Manufacturing and Surface Technology, PVD and Nanotechnology, Battery Technology and Optical Metrology.
  • Systems engineering connects the technical know-how with the digital world. Focus areas: Hardware, software, Industry 4.0, optical metrology, AI applications, digital technology and systems engineering.
  • Profound knowledge of microstructure and material properties leads to innovations in materials engineering. Fraunhofer IWS expertise includes materials selection, characterization and testing as well as development.

Disruptive production systems provide the supreme discipline. We are committed to contributing our know-how by combining expertise and technologies with systems engineering and developing holistic solutions that make a measurable difference in industry and society.

Fraunhofer IWS technology fields and expertise provide the scientific basis for developing precise answers to customers' and partners' requirements. We offer easy-to-integrate custom solutions, industry-compatible one-stop solutions, cost-efficient solutions for small and medium sized businesses as well as material and process innovations.

The Fraunhofer IWS"R&D Life Cycle" (see top right) outlines the process from customer inquiry to specific solution. A task may be addressed at any generally recognized Technology Readiness Level (TRL). By appropriately linking processes and technologies, systems engineering and materials, Fraunhofer IWS scientists develop solutions at TRL levels three to six – "Preliminary Design", "Detailed Design", "Lab Testing" or "Prototype". At higher TRL levels, we offer transfer and support services. A successfully completed development can always be the beginning of new joint projects. 

Guiding Principles of Fraunhofer IWS


At Fraunhofer IWS we stand for applied research – in cooperation with our partners we develop innovative and resource-efficient solutions with material, laser and system.

Mission Statements

As a team, we enthusiastically develop tailored and sustainable material and process innovations for the industry of the future.

We integrate laser technology, functionalized surfaces, battery technology, biosystemstechnology, and optical metrology into manufacturing.

Our customized solutions support the innovative capabilities of our partners.

Guiding Principles

Our Guiding Principles set out the fundamental principles and behaviors that guide all our activities. They provide clear guidance for our team and create a uniform basis for our daily actions. This helps to achieve our common goals.

  • We work together, respect, appreciate and stand up for each other – the human being takes center stage.

    Our employees are our greatest asset. We treat each other as equals with respect and fairness. We understand leadership as action with a living culture of information and learning. Agile working methods, equal opportunities, and diversity are unique values for our joint success. Our particular strength derives from networking of our employees' expertise, creativity and goal orientation. We support and promote the professional as well as personal development of our employees and serve as a springboard for a career within as well as outside the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

  • Our curiosity, enthusiasm and agility form the basis for innovative solutions.

    Specialized teams, interdisciplinary networks and close links to universities and colleges form the base for our scientific excellence and for market-oriented innovations. Our high and profound know-how, many years of diversified experience and agile processes are critical success factors for our research and service quality.

  • We take pride in new ideas – together with our partners, we shape the future.

    We are an inspiring source of stimulation for our partners in industry and science. With our knowledge management and technology-based solutions, we create space for new approaches and innovations. In doing so, we also challenge existing methods and develop forward-looking laser applications, functionalized surfaces, and material and process innovations that are highly relevant and effective both scientifically and technologically as well as socially.

    We are a competent and reliable partner: We stand by our word.

  • Our knowledge and actions serve applied research – for a strong economy and sustainable prosperity.

    “Knowledge creates benefits” describes the motivation and challenge for our actions. Our motivation is to preserve and strengthen the German and European economies to increase sustainable prosperity for all people.

  • We are aware of our social responsibility; we act compliantly and sustainably.

    For us at Fraunhofer IWS, corporate responsibility means continuous development in a wide variety of fields of action, based on the Sustainability Goals of the United Nations. We contribute our share – starting with responsible, dutiful organizational management, an employee-oriented personnel policy, the economical use of resources, compliance with social and environmental standards and fulfilling our responsibility in research and development, transfer, education, and training.

Agenda 2030

With our work and actions, we are already contributing to these Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, Agenda 2030.

Solutions of Fraunhofer IWS


Industry-compatible One-stop Solutions


Cost-efficient Solutions for Medium-sized Businesses


Easy-to-integrate Custom Solutions


Material and Process Innovations

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Annual Report 2023/2024

Materials Design –
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Future and Innovation Fields

In the future and innovation fields, we promote technical progress for you to meet existing and future requirements. 


About Fraunhofer

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, headquartered in Germany, is the world’s leading applied research organization.


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