German tie up for city researchers

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A European research powerhouse has strengthened its links with Sheffield Hallam University in a deal that will mean two of its top scientists become visiting professors.

Professors Günter Bräuer and Wolfgang Diehl, from the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films in Germany, are joining Hallam’s Materials and Engineering Research Institute – MERI - ahead of a £5.7 million revamp due to be completed in autumn next year.

The appointments follow several years of close scientific collaboration between the two institutes, working on high power impulse magnetron sputtering, or HIPIMS.

The technique has a range of applications, including applying new coatings to cutting tools, which reduce friction, improve cutting, increase high temperature resistance and boost hardness to previously unachievable levels.

HIPIMS technology can also be used to improve the properties of medical instruments and implants and to create special heat-resistant coatings for space station cryocoolers and jet engines.

MERI director Professor Alan Smith said: “Fraunhofer has an enthusiasm and commitment to HIPIMS technology that matches our own. At Sheffield Hallam we have recently announced a major £5.7 million revamp for our centre which includes state-of-the-art new equipment for HIPIMS applied research.

“With Gunter and Wolfgang on board, our global reputation for innovative and applied knowledge transfer can only get stronger.”

Fraunhofer is the largest organisation for applied research in Europe, comprising 66 research centres with a €1.9 billion combined annual research budget.