Contamination measurement

© Photo ISS DEBEOS Studios by order of Fischer Elektro- und Beleuchtungstechnik GmbH

Contamination present on surfaces and in media can be analytically determined using a wide range of methods and devices. If issues and measuring tasks are highly-individual or new, adaptions and new developments are often needed, such as integrating measuring techniques into manufacturing processes or adapting them to specific components.

To serve as a reference, or in order to select suitable measuring principles, we have a wealth of analytical laboratory processes at our disposal for detecting and analyzing diverse forms of contamination in gases, liquids or on surfaces. A current research focus is on assessing material pairings for applications in a vacuum in order to determine the generation and spread of particles – an issue which is highly relevant to industry because many contamination-sensitive processes, such as coating (PVD, CVD) or plasma activation steps, are carried out in a vacuum.


Examples of recent developments:

  • A measuring system for detecting CNTs in nanotechnology manufacturing environments
  • Portable surface particle counter for the fast and simple measurement of particle size distributions on components and production materials. The counter is based on a patented glancing light process, which has also proven to be effective in automated inspection systems.
  • Camera-based liquid particle counter for monitoring industrial parts cleaning systems, e.g. in the automotive industry. The system can also be used in cleanliness laboratories to perform rapid analyses of residues in compliance with VDA 19.
  • So-called particle traps, used to monitor the manufacturing environment, such as a cleanliness zone, or to evaluate processes used in the assembly of automotive components. To analyze them, the same automated microscopes can be implemented as those commonly used in component cleanliness analyses.
  • Methods have been developed for the European Space Agency ESA to enable so-called contact transfer contamination to be measured – i.e. the transfer of particles from one surface to another through contact. For example, this issue is relevant when taking rock samples during missions to Mars.
  • Particles generated by friction when materials touch one other are measured with the aid of highly-sensitive tribology test benches. Based on the results obtained, materials can be assessed for their suitability for use in clean manufacturing environments. These analyses are offered under the test label »Cleanroom Suitable materials®« as a service for industrial customers
  • By coupling thermoextraction with analysis by means of gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, a method used in the automotive industry, for example, to assess outgassing from materials can also be applied to assess the ability of cleaning processes to remove organic residues in the form of filmy contamination from medical products.

Fraunhofer IPA - Ultraclean Technology and Micromanufacturing