Press Release 085/2009

Thin Films with a great Impact

Three Companies Are Sharing the Professorship of Thin Film Technology
Professor Wilhelm Schabel
Professor Wilhelm Schabel studies finest films in the micrometer and nanometer range. (Photo by: Andrea Fabry)

Thin Film Technology is the field of work of Professor Wilhelm Schabel, holder of a shared professorship at the KIT: This shared professorship is the first, in which three enterprises are involved as industry partners: Bayer, BASF, and Roche. Apart from the professorship, the four partners are funding the setup of a chair and of an institute-overlapping thin-film-technology platform. Thin layers with novel functional properties are gain-ing importance for use as e.g. optical foils, varnishes, sensor materials or semiconducting thin layers for organic electronics.

The cooperation is designed for a period of five years. Each of the four partners – KIT, Bayer Technology Services, BASF SE, and Roche Diagnostics – contributes a quarter of the funds. The share of the KIT is based on the KIT Excellence Future Concept and partly consists in the supply of infrastructure. Beyond this cooperation, bilateral projects are planned with the individual companies.

The professorship has been established at the KIT Institute of Ther-mal Process Engineering, and is closely linked with the Institute of Nanotechnology, the Light Technology Institute, and the Institute of Mechanical Process Engineering. Schabel works both at the KIT and at the enterprises and in cooperation with the latter. His profes-sorship is one of the so far six shared professorships at the KIT. The basic idea is to give young scientists the opportunity to gain experi-ence in both research and industry at the same time.

Thin Film Technology (TFT) deals with the setup and properties of thin layers and the devices and process technology required for their production. The thickness of the layers varies between a few micrometers and a few nanometers. In such a thin layer, minute amounts of resources already have a great impact and are highly effective. “Products applied as liquid films onto substrates by low-priced so-called roll-to-roll processes will play a “key role”, explains Wilhelm Schabel. The interdisciplinary TFT platform established on Campus North of KIT is aimed to rapidly transfer new technologies from research to the production scale.

A particularly promising new market is Organic Electronics with or-ganic photovoltaics. In this field, TFT mainly focuses on polymer solar cells and hybrid solar cells, i.e. on polymer solar cells with inorganic nanoparticles. Other projects cover medical diagnosis test strips, coatings and varnishes as well as functional thin layers and structures for thin-film batteries and optical foils.

In September this year, Professor Schabel will chair the “European Coating Symposium“, at which experts from research and industry will discuss new developments in the field of liquid-film coating proc-esses. This biennial symposium will take place for the first time at Karlsruhe and is presently being organized by Schabel and his group.

Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,800 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

or, July 23, 2009


Monika Landgraf
Head of Corporate Communications, Chief Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41150
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
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Contact for this press release:

Monika Landgraf
Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-21150
Fax: +49 721 608-41150
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