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, Chemical Surface 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. 

Mission statement of Fraunhofer IWS


We are the world´s number 1 for complex system solutions in materials and laser technology. 


We passionately drive ideas and implement customized complete solutions for the industry of the future by means of laser applications, functionalized surfaces and material-based innovations.

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 2021/2022

Green Economy

Current research and development topics from Fraunhofer IWS compactly edited for you.


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.