About the Research Program

InPro-F: Innovative plasma nitriding through dynamic process control using optical frequency combs

Metal construction elements, for instance in the automobile and aviation industry, commonly undergo surface hardening process to improve their durability. Nitriding and carbonitriding are common surface hardening process for metal parts, which are based on the diffusion of nitrogen or carbon into the metal surface under the influence of heat. However, the established technique of gas nitration bears disadvantages with respect to environment pollution, resource efficiency, and a limited number of treatable materials. Plasma nitration addresses these drawbacks but it is currently based on static, empiric processes. To further improve the plasma nitration process, a performance-driven process control based on in-situ measurement data, such as gas and molecule concentration from absorption spectra is required.

The InPro-F project aims to develop an optical frequency comb-based detection technique for the accurate measurement of the concentration of various chemical species, which are present during the nitration process. This detection capability will enable an in-situ process control and allow to enhance the performance and throughput of plasma nitration.

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We are grateful for funding provided by BMBF Germany.

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Installation of the Menlo Systems Mid-IR laser system at industrial project partner Rübig:

InPro-F Menlo Rübig Project Partners

InPro-F Menlo Rübig Installation 2

InPro-F Menlo Rübig Installation 1

Link to the project website of our industrial partner