Saxony's science minister sees broad-based semiconductor research

In Silicon Saxony, microelectronics is not only produced, but also researched. The industry likes to talk about an ecosystem in which chip manufacturers, research institutes and universities thrive in close cooperation.

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Saxony's Science Minister Sebastian Gemkow (CDU) visited various microelectronics research sites on Wednesday. © Robert Michael/dpa

Dresden. Saxony can score points in microelectronics with a broad range of research, according to Science Minister Sebastian Gemkow (CDU). Scientists are not only working on new chip designs and developing new materials for effective and energy-saving semiconductors, Gemkow said on Wednesday during a tour of several research facilities. They are also working on applications and systems for the next generation of device components and the one after that, he said.

"Demand for microelectronics and nanoelectronics products will continue to grow strongly. Already today, practically no device or machine can do without microelectronics," the minister emphasized. He added that research in Saxony is paving the way for technologies that will be used far beyond Saxony's borders. "This strong and diverse research environment is a key location factor when it comes to attracting major microelectronics investors to Saxony."

According to Gemkow, the largest microelectronics cluster in Europe has established itself in Saxony in recent years. The "ecosystem" includes major chip manufacturers such as Infineon, Bosch, Globalfoundries and, in the future, TSMC. Among other things, the companies benefit from a strong environment in research and development, even beyond the city limits of Dresden. In the field of microelectronics, four universities, five universities of applied sciences and more than a dozen institutes conduct cutting-edge research.

Gemkow had started his tour of some research facilities in the morning at the Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems ENAS in Chemnitz. It develops smart systems that are capable of sensing complex situations and interacting with the environment in a networked manner. At the Helmholtz Institute for Resource Technology in Freiberg, Gemkow learned about ways to provide and use mineral and metal-bearing raw materials more efficiently and to recycle them in an environmentally friendly way.

In the afternoon, the Nanoelectronic Materials Laboratory (NaMLab) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS (CNT) were on the agenda. NaMLab gGmbH, a subsidiary of Dresden University of Technology, conducts industry-oriented basic research for future microelectronic devices. IPMS works on electronic, mechanical and optical components and their integration into tiny, "smart" devices and systems, it said. (dpa)

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