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A gigantic microelectronics program is taking shape!

Research funding in Germany

The first institutes announce what the microelectronics research factory is doing.

With its support program, Germany wants to gain international recognition for this key technology of digitization.

The dependence on microelectronics is already present today through our lives: No personnel ID and no car key works without the tiny electronic switching elements.

For this reason, the Federal Government has declared microelectronics the basis for digitization and innovation and has devoted a gigantic investment program to it.

By 2020, some 800 million euros will be spent on further research and production of microelectronic innovations.

Conveying package for key technology microelectronics

It is the largest funding program in this area since reunification and it has no less objective than to make Germany visible internationally as a heavyweight of research.

At the kick-off event of the Research Factory for Microelectronics in Germany in April 2017, Federal Research Minister Johanna Wanka said: “This gives us the great opportunity to push decisive IT developments ourselves.

This is a contribution to the strengthening of an important key industry, also with a view to Europe, economic growth and jobs. ”

Where will research into microelectronics be in the future?

In the future, four technology parks will be created, which will jointly focus on the following future oriented topics:

  • Silicon technologies for sensors, actuators and information processing
  • Semiconductors with state of the art materials for energy saving and communication technology
  • Combinations of silicon and other semiconductors for the Internet of things
  • Design, test and reliability for quality and safety

With around 350 million euros of the 800 million-euro package, 13 non-university research facilities are being modernized, which are already conducting research on microelectronics.

Schleswig-Holstein Institute is dedicated to gallium nitride

The Fraunhofer ISIT in Schleswig-Holstein has now announced, for which it wants to spend its funding of 19.3 million euros.

On the one hand, equipment is being procured for the application of piezoelectric and magnetic materials on silicon as well as vapor deposition systems for optical and infrared coatings.

Glass kilns are also on the shopping list. “The semiconductor industry is among the industries with the fastest succession of new technologies.

State of the art process equipment is being depreciated in the economy in five to a maximum of seven years and replaced by new generations, “explains ISIT head Axel Müller-Groeling.

With the planned new acquisitions, the ISIT would be able to develop components such as magnetic field sensors, optical micro scanners or microphones for the industry.

On the other hand, ISIT plans to develop plants for the development of gallium nitride (GAN) as a material basis for innovative performance components.

Audi wanted, for example, to significantly increase the range of electric cars with gallium nitride, but the results are still not on the road.

In the field of semiconductor electronics, silicon circuit breakers have so far been used, but “the electrical properties of the transistors are at the theoretical limit,” ISIT explains the need for research.

On the other hand, gallium nitride is still quite difficult to machine and there is a great need for development, “so that GaN can be industrially used for the production of power components,” says Holger Kapels, ISIT’s Power Electronics Division.

Important applications of microelectronics

Microelectronics was once developed for space travel, but it has long since entered the industry.

Sectors such as machine construction and plant engineering as well as the automotive industry are increasingly dependent on microelectronic applications.

Microelectronic components are found, for example, in machine controls, in computer memory, in motor control of vehicles and in any smartphone.

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