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Nano structure analysis & material characterization

Positron annihilation spectroscopy is a non-destructive method for the qualitative and quantitative analysis of material properties on the nanometer scale. Examine your samples on a whole new scale. Characterize atomic defects, free volume and porous systems under real conditions.


COMPAS – Combined Methods for Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy

Positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy makes it possible to examine almost any material for atomic defects such as vacancy clusters, free volumes or pore systems without destruction and without complex sample preparation. Based on the measurements, statements can be made about the size and the relative proportion of any defect structures. This can be used in the characterization and prediction of fatigue or in the structural analysis of metals, polymers and inorganic materials. In particular, closed and open pore systems in the range smaller than 20 nm can be reliably examined with the method. Positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy stands out from other standard methods due to its very high sensitivity and provides detailed information about the microstructure. The information content is not locally limited, but is characteristic of an extensive sample volume.


Positrons are used as micro probes and implanted in the material. Both the defect environment and the electron density influence the annihilation of the positron with an electron and lead to different measurable effects.


Application areas

  • Prediction of fatigue in metals, alloys and polymers
  • Influence of deformations on the microstructure of solids
  • Quality control and optimization of innovative materials
  • Determination of the free volume and the glass transition temperature in polymers
  • Characterization of closed and open pore systems

Depending on the material system, different microstructures and defects can be examined. In solids it is possible to detect atomic defects such as dislocations, single vacancies and agglomerates up to complex systems such as grain boundaries or nano-cracks.


What we offer

Our qualified and competent team offers you a comprehensive service in the field of non-destructive material characterization as well as individual solutions for your questions. We have one of the world’s most modern measuring stations at your disposal, which provides you both an excellent resolution and a short measuring time.
Brochure service COMPAS (3.57 MB)

Explainer video

Combined Methods of Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy

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Make with positrons defects visible

Today, materials scientists often aim to improve materials on the nanometre scale. Positrons, the anti-particles of electrons, help here. They can be used to make nano-defects visible. Positron Annihilation Lifetime Spectroscopy (PALS) makes it possible to examine almost any material on the nanometre scale for atomic defects non-destructively and without time-consuming sample preparation.


Reference: Fraunhofer IMWS Halle

“The Fraunhofer IMWS is collaborating with HZDR Innovation GmbH to identify and quantify void concentrations in GaN thin films using the positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy (PALS) method. In particular, the influence of different epitaxy process parameters, dopant species and concentration as well as thermal post-treatments to activate dopant elements on the defect formation in the layers will be investigated.”

Patrick Diehle, Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS


Your contact persons

Dr. Eric Hirschmann

Phone: +49 351 260 2671