Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS

Booth number 4105-28

Fraunhofer IKTS is Europe's largest R&D institute dedicated to the study of ceramics with a strong focus on transparent ceramics for optical systems, medical technology and more.

About us

The Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS conducts applied research on high-performance ceramics. With its various sites the institue collectively represent Europe‘s largest R&D institute dedicated to the study of ceramics.

As a research and technology service provider, Fraunhofer IKTS develops advanced high-performance ceramic materials, industrial manufacturing processes as well as prototype components and systems in complete production lines up to the pilot-plant scale.

At Fraunhofer IKTS, the research and development of high-purity transparent ceramics for optical systems, medical technology and ballistic protection is being steadily expanded. A technical infrastructure is currently being integrated on the basis of PERLUCOR®, which cover the complete value chain for transparent parts and components. The new research and development center will help to significantly expand the current application scenarios of transparent ceramics with mature technologies.

Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS
Michael-Faraday-Str. 1
07629 Hermsdorf

Phone: +49 36601 93010

Contact person

Dr. Sabine Begand
Head of Department Oxide Ceramics

Products & Services

Current application scenarios for transparent ceramics with mature technologies:
Optics and sensor technology: chemically and mechanically stable optics for sensor systems (driving assistance and transport systems, lidar sensors for autonomous driving), active light diffraction and guidance, laser head protection systems, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems.

Civil security:
chemical and mechanical protective covers for optical systems in harsh conditions (desert regions, subsea sensor systems, radiation-resistant lidar sensors on satellites, night vision devices, solar energy harvesting), ballistic protective windows and optics for vehicles, large-format scanner screens
Medical technology and biotechnology: biocompatible and biostable optics for endoscopes in human and veterinary diagnostics Consumer Industries, IoT

Scratch-resistant displays and interactive buttons for vehicles and mobile devices.

Scanner Systems

Use of transparent spinel ceramic for Scanners and modern displays enabling fast, safe, and error-free data collection and processing - a key application of PERLUCOR®: its extreme robustness and resistance to scratches, shocks, wear, chemicals, and breakage provide long-lasting protection in different kinds of scanning systems, e.g., at airport check-ins, for documents, fingerprint or hand scanners, in scanners in production, logistics or supermarket checkouts, as well as touchscreen displays.

Ballistic protective components

For extreme applications, in harsh environments and when splinters start flying, acids or alkalis start splashing and glass starts melting, this is the time for the spinel ceramic PERLUCOR®. Where other protective glasses reach their limits, or become scratched, obscured, or opaque, PERLUCOR® retains clear transparency for more secure monitoring of processes: for example, in production, in high­ temperature areas, in furnace windows, inspection glasses and spin windows.

Optical elements

Miniaturization of optics and sensor systems and their lasting protection do require innovative materials. Mg-Al-Spinel ceramic with its high refractive index of 1.72, enables miniaturization of optical lenses and other optical elements. Thus, small components achieve large magnification. Based on its optical qualities PERLUCOR® is an excellent choice for cameras, sensors, and surveillance systems for vehicles - land, water, or air - as well as for other applications, such as infrared sensors.

News & Innovations

Expansion of development of transparent ceramics at Fraunhofer IKTS

By integrating the transparent ceramics division of the CeramTec-ETEC GmbH (PERLUCOR®), Fraunhofer IKTS will significantly expand its existing competences in the development of transparent ceramics. The new technical infrastructure enables the establishment of a research and development center for transparent ceramics at the IKTS site in Hermsdorf.

With the financial support of the Free State of Thuringia, a complete ceramic technology chain consisting of equipment for conditioning high-purity powders, shaping, heat treatment, laser processing and ultra-precision finishing will be installed in Hermsdorf, providing a link between laboratory scale and industrial production.

Ceramic technology in Hermsdorf will thus achieve a performance leap in terms of component size, degree of purity and innovative manufacturing.

Transparent ceramics are characterized by excellent material properties and are superior in comparison to glass, sapphire or gorilla glass in many applications:

Spectral transmission 0,2–6 μm
Refractive index 1,72
Hardness 13,8 GPa
Bending strength 350 MPa
Dielectric constant 8–9
Melting point ~2000 °C

Unique characteristics and subsequent applications of transparent ceramics

  • Extreme robustness, hardness and resistance to scratches for longer-lasting visibility and functionality of scanners and displays
  • Protective windows in armored vehicles with reduced weight
  • Efficient utilization under extreme conditions in industry for a more secure monitoring of processes: e.g., in production, in hightemperature areas, in furnace windows, inspection glasses and spin windows
  • Long-lasting protection for optics and sensor systems in harsh environments, such as desert regions, subsea or space, e.g., optical lenses and optical camera elements for night-vision devices, lidar sensors or surveillance systems
  • Biocompatibility and biostability of optics for medical devices, endoscopes and point-of-care diagnostics
Further reading

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