Silicon Membrane Technology

Smallest structures for detection & analysis of micro/nanoparticles

Fraunhofer ISIT has developed a silicon membrane technology to create filters for a variety of material analyses. The technology offers a polymer-free realisation of filter structures for the analysis of micro- and nanoparticles. The filter structures enable particle visualisation, sizing and identification. Different surface coatings can be used to achieve low spectroscopic interference. Numerous pore diameters can be realised for different filtration ranges.

Silicon membrane technology offers all design dimensions of filter structures with the advantages of diverse surfaces such as aluminium oxide and gold coating. Our silicon membranes have a homogeneous filter surface (unlike polycarbonate or glass microfibre filters).

Examples of applications are: Micro/nanoplastic detection, gas and liquid filtration, diagnostics and optical filters.

Tailor-made porous silicon membranes

Objectives & Challenges

  • Filter membrane structures reaching nanometer level opening
  • Ultra-flat surfaces with highest pressure withstand
  • Numerous degrees of freedom in geometry and dimensions

Development & Production

  • Design of the porous silicon membranes
  • Pores adaptable in d
  • Adaptable, regularly distributed pores (nanometre scale)
  • Integrated system that allows orientation on the filtration surface 
  • Surface treatment to achieve a higher contrast level
  • Pilot production by electrochemical etching
  • Aluminium and gold coatings   


  • Filter membrane structures up to 200 nm aperture 
  • Ultra-flat 2 µm surfaces
  • Precisely regularly distributed pores (sizes from 200 nm and higher) with integrated orientation system

Unique advantages and application possibilities of membrane technology

© Fraunhofer ISIT / photocompany itzehoe

Technical specifications

  • Pore sizes: 200 nm and higher
  • Membrane thickness: 2 µm 
  • Coating materials: Al, Au
  • Filter diameter: 25 mm (filtration area 10 mm)

Examples of application

  • Filtration against contaminants (micro/nanoplastics, viruses, etc.)
  • Gas and liquid filtration 
  • Lab on chip diagnostics
  • Optical filters

Download the prospect.

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