Nanotechnology / New-Generation Materials / Photovoltaics

With roughly 100 of the country's 1,000 companies, the Dresden region is one of Germany's leading nanotechnology locations. Along with roughly 2,000 scientists in the field of materials science, they provide cross-application technology to put companies a step ahead when it comes to microelectronics, the life sciences, engineering, plant construction, automotive construction or aerospace.

Gentle giants

Fuel cells create energy without noise, wear parts or fumes. An industrial cluster working on this forward-looking power technology has become established in Dresden around the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS).

A tough act to follow

High-strength, ultra-stable, corrosion-resistant carbon fibers made by the Dresden company EAST-4D mean aircraft and vehicles can be built lighter and thus save energy.

Well-tuned production system

PIA|nova®, made by VON ARDENNE, is an example of Dresden plant constructors' high level of skill.

Dresden's specialty is transferring materials onto components as super-thin layers or systems of layers.

Topics, technologies, business models

This key sector is correspondingly diverse not only as regards the subjects and technologies it studies and uses, but also as regards its business models. Thus, Dresden manages to concentrate end-to-end technological workflows for a constantly developing sector, all in one location.

Dresden's specialty is transferring materials onto components as super-thin layers or systems of layers. With this knowledge, the city advances the forward-looking field of energy and energy efficiency:

Energy Storage

Developing the next generation of batteries, for mass storage or to run electric motors, calls for a firm command of new-generation materials. Dresden can provide an end-to-end technological workflow for the production of high-capacity battery systems. Dresden's key players are involved in future-oriented projects run by the EU and BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research).

Lightweight Engineering

Its combination of local skills in the fields of materials, electronics and analytics have propelled the city into a top position in lightweight engineering. Lightweight components play a crucial role in modern aircraft and vehicle construction, for example. At the European Centre for Emerging Materials and Processes in Dresden, scientists develop innovative technology, among other things for the field of lightweight engineering. The Dresden model of functionally integrative modular lightweight engineering with a multi-material design has set worldwide standards.


Dresden's local photovoltaics industry covers the entire value-added chain both for crystalline silicon and for thin-film and organic photovoltaics. Dresden companies' particular strength lies in specialized plant technology: four global leading photovoltaics plant constructors work in Dresden.

The sector ...

 ... is heavily influenced by university and non-university research institutes and their spin-offs.
  • Axo Dresden GmbH, for example, a spin-off from the Dresden Fraunhofer Institute for Institute for Material and Beam Technology (IWS), is a globally leading supplier of multi-layer x-ray optical devices. These can be used to discover the structure of new substances used in medicines, or be put to use in high-performance space observatories. With their help, tiny quantities of material can be identified, down to the subatomic layer range.

Yet Dresden is also home to companies...

 ... with a longer tradition:

  • These include VON ARDENNE GmbH, one of the world's leading providers of equipment for industrial vacuum processes or plasma and electron beam technology.
  • IMA GmbH, who work in material research and applications engineering, have roots going back to Dresden's aircraft construction industry in the 1950s. The IMA engineers test new-generation materials, for example composites. The 'big bird' Airbus 380 was put through its paces at the IMA lab at Dresden Airport.

Industry networks link together ...

...  the activities of this highly diverse field of skills and ensure that the sector creates measurable waves.
  • Energy Saxony
  • Silicon Saxony e.V. photovoltaics working group
  • Solarvalley Mitteldeutschland (Middle German Solar Valley)
  • Brennstoffzellen Initiative Sachsen e.V. (Saxon Fuel Cell Initiative)
  • European Society of Thin Films (EFDS)

Excellence is the city‘s motto

Dresden’s success is based on key technologies including microelectronics, information-and-communications, new materials, photovoltaic and nanotechnology, and, life sciences and biotechnology. The interdisciplinary collaboration between businesses and research facilities helps move Dresden forward.