From atoms to turbine blades –
a scale bridging journey into the nanocosmos of a Ni-base superalloy

Institute for materials - DFB Projekt: SFB-Transregio 103

The movie represents a scale bridging journey from the macro scale into the nanocosmos of a superalloy turbine blade. Turbine blades are produced by a directional solidification process. They are used in gas turbines for aero engines and for power plants where they must withstand high mechanical loads at extremely high temperatures. The high temperature strength depends on the microstructure of the superalloy. There are microstructural features on different length scales, which determine the properties of these fascinating materials. In the movie different microscopic methods are used to zoom into a turbine blade. We first see a turbine blade. As we approach we recognize dendrites which form during solidification (length scale 0,5 milli meter). We zoom in and further and recognize the well known gamma/gamma prime microstructure (length scale: 0,5 micro meter). We use advanced analytical methods to show how the alloy elements are distributed in the microstructure. Finally, we resolve columns of atoms (length scale 0,5 nano meter) which allow us to appreciate the crystalline nature of superalloys. The movie was produced by the Insitute for Materials of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in the framework of the collaborative research center SFB/TR 103 on single crystal super alloys, which is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

introduction to research cluster micro & biomedical engineering

Mechanical Engineering at Ruhr-University Bochum

From cicada to implant – bionic-inspired materials research

The chair of MEMS materials is featured at COMPAMED medical technology trade fair:

"Infection protection has many facets. Metals with antibacterial effects are one of them for some years now. Nanostructured surfaces that kill bacteria are a younger development. Prof. Manfred Köller from the German university hospital Berufsgenossenschaftliches Universitätsklinikum Bergmannsheil in Bochum explains in our video how nanopillars destroy bacteria. We also ask Prof. Alfred Ludwig from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum how theses pillars are grown on titanium tiles in his lab and what cicada wings have to do with this."


Animation created using free blender software package

Combinatorial thin film deposition (K3)

K3 is a turbopumped HV chamber with 3 confocal cathodes (1x each DC, RF, bipolar pulsed DC). This chamber is designed for depositing films of oxides and nitrides, and has a heater capable of going to 850°C in oxyxgen or nitrogen environments, as well as RF bias on the substrate.

High throughput test stand (HTTS)

The high throughput test stand (HTTS) is a custom made unit, specially designed for the rapid characterization of thin film materials libraries which in our case are commonly deposited on 4” Si-wafers. Depending on the installed measurement module, electrical or magnetical properties of the materials library can be measured.


The cleanroom at the Chair for MEMS Materials is class ISO 5, and includes tools for photolithography and further microstructuring.

Further VideoLinks:

- Introduction of the Materials Research Department (MRD)