Silicium technology and process analytic
In the area of technology and process analytics, Fraunhofer EMFT offers an industry-compatible technology platform for testing new process media and optimizing selected process stages, thereby increasing performance and efficiency, for example. On request, it is also possible to realize small-series production – in cases where such small quantities are not available on the world market, for example. A CMOS line (200 mm, structural resolution up to 0.35 µm) is available for producing microtechnology components – all processes comply with the CMOS standard – and there is also a MEMS line (150 mm and 200 mm) for materials which are not CMOS-compatible. In addition to standardized silicon technology, the institution is also able to offer special processes such as silicon-germanium epitaxy as well as a wide range of integration technologies. The latter include 3D integration methods (W-TSV, SLID), anodic bonding at wafer level, the processing of glass substrates (TGV) and various metallization systems (aluminum, tungsten, copper and gold).
This broad range of technologies is complemented with modern in-line – i.e. destruction-free – measuring technology for the purpose of material and process characterization. Alternatively, there are various test structures available for the purpose of off-line process control. In addition, new analysis methods are developed according to customerspecific requirements that are suitable for production which are then integrated in existing production structures. Based on charge carrier lifetime measurements for example, effective methods have been developed to check contamination of high-impedance Float Zone material. Using the technologies available, it is possible to produce numerous components in the institution’s in-house cleanrooms. The focus here is on the development and optimization of electrical and optical components for modern sensor systems. In addition to component manufacture itself, it is also possible to create layouts and carry out extensive testing, e.g. reliability studies (HAST test).
Low-noise transistors and electrochemical transducers
The optical components developed at Fraunhofer EMFT include complex fluorescence modules, classic PIN photodiodes and sensitive silicon photomultipliers for individual photon detection. The latter are used in PET-MRI diagnostic imaging and were developed in close collaboration with an SME. In addition to a suitable sensor, individual photon detection also requires special electronics for signal analysis. In this context, Fraunhofer EMFT researchers develop highly sensitive, low-noise components to detect the very smallest signals. The development and manufacture of low-noise transistors are Fraunhofer EMFT USPs. The institution possesses both the technological and metrological expertise required for JFETs, MOSFETs, varactor diodes and sensors, and this is put to intense use for industry contracts. A recently established lowfrequency noise measurement system is now also being used by Keysight for demonstration purposes. Fraunhofer EMFT has many years of experience in the field of electrochemical transducers, too. Impedimetric, amperometric and potentiometric components are available for this purpose. These enable the detection of various analytes in either the gas phase or in liquid solution.
The optical and electrical components available are developed further on an ongoing basis for a range of sensor applications. Entire sensor systems including the appropriate interfaces are designed for demonstration purposes based on market relevance and at the request of customers. Fraunhofer EMFT has systems for pH measurement in liquids, spectroscopic analysis of gases and the monitoring of environmental parameters such as temperature and air humidity as well as the carbon dioxide and hydrogen content of ambient air. The current focus is on networking sensors by means of microsystem integration. Particular attention here is being paid to 3D integration – something that Fraunhofer EMFT has been involved in for many years as a central aspect in linking CMOS-compatible electronics with MEMS-based sensors. In addition, sensors are read out, controlled and networked via standardized interfaces. A collaborative industry venture was set up to create a multifunctional sensor platform for this purpose. This enables all sensors to be activated via USB or on a contactless basis via Bluetooth and NFC. Measurement parameters can then be read out conveniently using a commonly available smartphone, for example.
Microchips are at the heart of countless products: they cluster numerous functions inside a minute space. However, very specific applications or the capacity to tap into new functions and areas of use, increased miniaturization, enhanced energy efficiency, low manufacturing costs and greater reliability often require new IC designs that are not available on the market in this form. Here, Fraunhofer EMFT supports its customers in designing complex analog and mixed-signal circuits, focused on novel sensoric concepts and millimeter design (SAR-ADC, Sigma-Delta ADC, PLL, microwave structures).
By means of demonstrators, prototypes and systems, Fraunhofer EMFT scientists are able to illustrate potential application scenarios for the technologies and components developed at the institution. For customers, this development expertise is an essential part of the Fraunhofer EMFT service portfolio: SMEs in particular often require complete solutions rather than individual components. In particular, extensive expertise in system development provides an essential basis for translating innovative technologies and solutions (such as energy harvesting and ultra-low power consumption) quickly and successfully into applications to create future-oriented products. The development expertise of our experienced interdisciplinary team covers hardware and software, electronics, mechanics, optics and fluidics with micropumps and micro valves as well as the incorporation of innovative numerical signal processing concepts. Services in the area of system development range from drafting initial concepts through to feasibility demonstrators, prototypes and complete systems, depending on requirements.