The project centred on the development and application of electron microscopical techniques for the characterization of hard metal-layers and ceramic layers deposited onto solid materials and tools. The morphology, crystallographic structure and chemical composition in nanometer regions between the layers and the substrate were related to their electrical and mechanical properties. The following systems were investigated: 1. Hard metal layers, e.g. single layers or multilayer systems consisting of various chemical compounds. 2. Anodic foils for Al-electrolyte capacitors. 3. Semiconductor devices. To enable the characterization of the complicated interfaces of these materials with possible faults and defects, we had to improve the target preparation of cross-sections perpendicular to the surface of the materials.