For sustainable material development of high-performance components and their transfer to industry, it is required to extend the application limits of materials via novel surfaces and surface-related areas, such as boundary layers and rim zones. The existing scientific experience with plasma processes at the Institute, including the existing plasma facilities, as well as the scientific expertise on surface design, surface interactions with environments, corrosion and corrosion protection concepts, enables numerous new approaches of research under space conditions for a sustainable future on earth and in space.
The following research areas are in focus of the research team and bridges the gap between fundamental science and industry application: plasma surface technology development, surface modifications, and development of diagnostic and analytical methods. Plasma processes to create new surfaces and materials are studied in laboratory and microgravity (to suppress convection in the process gas) conditions to provide new understanding of surface / plasma interactions and thus better control of surface processes, e.g. to obtain advanced surface modifications or sustainable reduction processes from the ore to the metal. In addition, model systems of classical condensed matter on, e. g. Janus particles as active matter, quantum dots as charge sensors, and the preparation of COMPACT – the future facility for the International Space Station - are used to develop, e.g. sensor systems.
Figure 1: Trajectories of Janus particles as active matter.