Technology Offers Physical Technics

Efficient and cost-effective in situ measurement of growth-related soil parameters

To obtain best quality and quantity results for plant growth in soils and substrates, knowledge of the water and ion content of the soil and thus the dosage of irrigation and fertilizer is fundamental. This is particularly true when we want to support sustainability and the preservation of resources, but also wish to increase yield.
At the Institute of Agricultural Engineering of the University of Hohenheim a technology has been developed that measures soil water content, suction tension and salt content simultaneously and on-site. Signal transmission and the evaluation can be performed telemetrically or via cable, on-site or remote. The technology uses laser diodes, no spectroscopy is required.



Refractive lenses of rolled and structured films for X-ray optical systems

The newly-invented X-ray lens allows the focusing of X-rays on a point focus of less than 10 µm diameter and also distinguishes itself through high transmissivity and low absorption losses. It is especially interesting for X-ray analysis processes for which a high radiation intensity is required since tenfold radiation intensities are achieved in the focus.
The lenses are easy to manufacture and thus cost-effective.



Permanent air layer under water reduces friction and prevents fouling & corrosion

Within a project of the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung a novel surface technology has been developed that can hold gas molecules between a surface and surrounding liquids. Such a material could be extremely useful in shipbuilding rendering toxic anti-fouling coatings obsolete and simultanously reducing frictional resistance between vessel and seawater, thus saving fuel.



Device for rotation of 3D samples in microscopy or for CAD-modeling & 3D printing

Scientists at Aalen University have developed a device which allows the rotation of samples. It can be used in conjunction with a range of microscopy methods, including single-plane illumination microscopy (SPIM) and laser scanning microscopy. This enables scientists for the first time to observe 3D samples from all sides using conventional microscopes. Since the sample is kept in a fixed position relative to the microscope, the method opens up new possibilities for the 3D reconstruction of samples, for example in combination with single plane imaging.


Rotational views of a copepod



VacuShut, a pressure dependent self-opening and -closing vacuum container for samples which are sensitive to the atmosphere

A novel device for handling samples sensitive to the atmosphere has been developed at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). It allows samples prepared under vacuum or inert gas atmosphere to be stored safely for introduction into the measurement chamber of an analytical instrument. A complex and expensive air-lock or manipulator is thus not required. The novel vacuum container is simple, cost-effective and reusable.



Photo lubrication: Radiation-induced, reversible and irreversible modification of friction and adhesion

Funded by the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung gGmbH, KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) and Ulm University scientists have developed a procedure that enables the targeted modification of surfaces' friction and adhesion properties through irradiation with light. Depending on the application the modification may be irreversible, i. e. properties are adjusted once-only, or reversible, i. e. facilitating a switch between the minimum and maximum coefficient of friction in a selective and continuous manner. Therefore, the new technique opens up new opportunities for photo-activatable and photo-switchable applications even in the field of micro and nano systems technologies.