Ultra-precision machining in the submicrometer and nanometer range

Whether in the automotive industry, for aerospace, optics or medical technology – high-precision components made of a variety of materials are used as lenses and laser system components, in medical technology and in toolmaking. Ultra-precision machining is required to produce optical and mechanical components from a wide range of materials. When it comes to accuracies in the submicrometer range down to nanostructures, ultra-precision machining with monocrystalline diamond tools is a key technology. The high accuracies offer enormous potential for the requirements of the optics industry, but also for microsystems technology, fluid mechanics or for medical technology and biotechnology.

Many years of expertise in ultra-precision machining

For more than 30 years, Fraunhofer IPT has been researching the machining of components with diamond tools, especially ultra-precision milling, grinding and turning. Our manufacturing portfolio ranges from small to medium-sized optics and free-form surfaces to components with extreme geometric freedom and steep free-form details to micro- and nanostructures on large surfaces over one square meter or on embossing rolls.

Extensive machinery for a wide range of applications

For this purpose, our extensive machinery includes ultra-precision planning and fly-cutting machines, diamond lathes with highly dynamic fast-tool modules and monocrystalline diamonds, as well as state-of-the-art equipment for ultra-precision grinding including ultra-sonic support. Various extension systems developed in-house at Fraunhofer IPT complement the commercially available technologies, which we use to produce high-precision surfaces and homogeneous, submicrometer structures in an enormous geometric variety. The manufacturing processes used allow the production of rotationally and non-rotationally symmetric components, for example spheres, aspheres, free-form surfaces and structured surfaces. By using special ultra-precision machines, air-bearing spindles and suitable process strategies, forming accuracies of less than 250 nanometers peak-to-valley and surface finishes down to less than 5 nanometers center-line roughness can be achieved.

To the limits of what is technically possible

We have mastered the demanding fine-tuning of processes and machine and, even with process times of several days, can control external influences in such a way that an optimum result is always achieved. In combination with a skillful selection of materials, we push the limits of what is technically possible: we process a wide range of different materials, such as ceramics, hard metals, non-ferrous metals, steels, plastics and glasses.

From application: ultra-precisely manufactured parts and components

A particularly wide variety of components machined by ultra-precision cutting processes can be found among impression tools, but also in the direct production of optical or medical technology components. Here we show some examples that we manufacture using various ultra-precision machining technologies.

Our technologies

The Fraunhofer IPT is further developing various processes for ultra-precision machining and combining them to produce components with particularly high technical requirements.


Embossing drums

Controlling the multitude of possible disturbance variables, even in long-lasting manufacturing processes, is the greatest challenge in the machining of rolls. In doing so, we maintain the highest form accuracies and surface qualities down to less than 5 nanometers centerline roughness.


Glass forming tools

For the efficient production of complex geometries from glass, we are active in the areas of tool production and tool coating.

Injection molds

Mold making with the smallest tolerances and optical surface quality with roughness values in the micro and nanometer range.


Tool making for bipolar plates

The Fraunhofer IPT manufactures mold inserts for the forming of metallic bipolar plates in series processes.

Mold design for microfluidic components

We manufacture rollers and molds for microfluidic chips and discs with our broad range of machinery.

Did you know about our research projects?

Take a look at the wide range of research activities we carry out in bilateral and multilateral projects with our partners from research and industry.


Large scale molding tools

With planing and fly-cutting processes, we can manufacture large mold inserts with highly accurate structures.

Technologies for ultra-precision machining

Fraunhofer IPT is further developing various processes for ultra-precision machining and combining them to produce components with particularly high technical requirements.


In fly-cutting with a diamond tool, we produce large-area, flat components with optical surfaces. With the spindle rotated by 90 degrees, we structure the components in the micro and nano range.

Ultra-precision turning

We use monocrystalline diamond tools to machine ductile materials to optical quality.

Precise grinding of brittle materials

Machining of, for example, hard metals, ceramics or glass requires the use of tools with geometrically undefined cutting edges.