Coating Characterization

Coatings can improve the application properties of a substrate significantly. For development and application of such coating systems the relevant properties have to be measured in a precise and reproducible manner.

Our main fields of expertise are tribology, contact mechanics and surface acoustic wave spectroscopy with extensive know-how in methodology, application and process development. Our characterization comprises all kinds of coatings with emphasis on PVD coatings and superhard amorphous carbon coatings (ta-C).


Service Offers

Subject of our work is the characterization of coatings of all kinds in the range of 0.1… 500 µm thickness, with emphasis on PVD coatings and amorphous carbon coatings (often called DLC). Based on our everyday work, we are especially experienced in the field of superhard, tetrahedral amorphous carbon (ta-C).


LAwave - Laser Acoustic Test System

The LAwave measuring system, developed at the Fraunhofer IWS, allows non-destructive characterization of films and material surfaces, for example measurement of Young’s modulus, coating thickness, density, porosity, delamination, and depth of hardening or damage layers.



  • Tribometers
  • LAwave measurement system
  • Scratch tester
  • Nano and micromechanical testing devices
  • Crater-grinding method
  • Contact mechanical simulation
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Microscopy and other imaging methods

Highlights and Scientific Experise


Tribology Innovation Center Dresden (TICD)

Tribological coatings and surface modifications – expertise in friction reduction and wear protection


Get an insight into the current publications of Fraunhofer IWS on coating characterization.



Vacuum arc deposition of MoS2/ta-C coatings and mechanical-tribological testing, Timeframe 06/2021–05/2025 (BMWK: FKZ: 100582372)


Further development of tribometry for research and validation of supra-low friction phenomena, Timeframe 12/2020–11/2023 (BMWK: FKZ: 03EN4006A)

Press and Media


Press release / 12.10.2021

Superlubricity Eliminates Friction in Engines

Fraunhofer IWS works on machines that barely lose energy in the form of waste heat


News / 24.3.2021

Non-destructive Coating Analysis on Brake Discs with LAwave® Technology


Press release / 4.3.2019

Economical Engines due to Less Friction

Joint research project "Prometheus" further develops surface technology for lower CO2 emissions