As modern hybrid materials, nanocomposites combine polymeric matrices with nanoscale inclusions such as particles, fibers or tubes. Different functions are realized by different nanofillers, while the matrices ensuring mechanical stability and electrical connection to the environment.
Fraunhofer ENAS develops nanocomposite based humidity sensors, piezoresistive composite sensors for the detection of forces and with the use of semiconductor nanocrystals for nanosensors or in light-emitting systems. Current works focuses on polymer-based nanocomposite systems suitable for the material-integrated sensors. These sensors detect for example overloading of mechanical components by changing the fluorescence of the embedded nanocrystals. Due to the flexible mechanical properties of polymers, a development of sensors for curved or textured surface is possible.