The Vienna-based company LIStrat Industrial Analytics (LIStrat GmbH) was founded in mid-2017 as a spin-off of the Faculty of Chemistry/Institute of Physical Chemistry at the University of Vienna. The company name consists of the original core development area; i.e. chemical layer analysis using Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS for short, a form of laser-induced atomic emission spectroscopy). It stands for 'Laser-Induced Stratigraphy' --- Laser-induced layer analysis or stratigraphy (lat. Stratum, 'layer, blanket' and Greek. \(\gamma\rho\'{\alpha}\phi\epsilon\iota\nu\) or gráphein, 'write, draw').


This can be used, for example, to obtain chemical depth information on arbitrarily shaped workpieces quickly and automatised. The microinvasive method can be used here as a fast alternative to metallographic cross sections on galvanic multi-coatings or to generate virtual chemical cross sections in method development or quality assurance, which renders the necessity to cut the workpiece at all relevant points and prepare it for (electron) microscopic analysis obsolete. In addition to layer thickness control, chemical composition and diffusion gradients can also be recorded - features that can hardly and certainly not non-destructively be recorded through multiple coatings (e.g. using X-ray fluorimeters etc.) using classical routines such as electron beam methods on cross sections. The quality assurance/measurement cycle for R&D is reduced from hours to days to just a few minutes. In addition to routine multilayer electroplating, modern spray coating processes in engine construction are examples of applications, where initial successes in the detection of porosity differences and oxygen gradients in yttrium/zirconium-based Thermal Barrier Coatings (TBCs) promise numerous other applications.


Minimally invasive and rapid analysis is but one part of LIStrat's field of operation. With the growing demand for individually manufactured and chemically flexible metal components for high-performance applications in the automotive, aircraft, offshore or medical industries, the requirements for rapid and accurate quality assurance are increasing Monitoring and documentation should accompany the manufacturing process in situ wherever possible. LIStrat is developing methods to monitor the chemical composition and its variability in-line during the additive manufacturing process of workpieces made of powders of variable composition and to feed the information back into the process as feedback in real time. In the future, this will enable the seamless recording and tracing of chemically gradually manufactured components in the LMD process (Laser Metal Deposition or ~Laser Deposition Welding) as a virtual, chemical 3D image of the workpiece. If required, the method can also stop or readjust the process directly in the event of production errors such as faulty jobs, insertion errors or mixing problems, which helps to avoid rejects and minimize production times.

Light-Metal Analysis

With the advancement of light metal processing, another important area of application for LIStrat technology is emerging: The autonomous detection and robot-assisted positioning of parts can be used for fully automated, contactless elemental analysis of scrap and recyclable materials in the middle of the separation process in processing and recycling plants. The combination of state-of-the-art machine vision, high-energy industrial lasers and flexible fiber-optics enable fast detection of e.g. individual parts on a conveyor belt or certain scrap fragments in a scrap package, the ablation of various enamelled, painted, or anodized coatings and automated and safe sampling by robotic actuators. This increases sampling speed up to 1 kHz, in contrast to the 1 Hz a typical human operated measurement requires. The increase in data allow for reliable statistics and subsequent classification of individual sheets up to whole packages. Downcycling losses can thus be minimised. With primary scrap such as chad from the automotive and aircraft industries, added value of 50% can be achieved.