Fraunhofer ENAS develops piezoelectric micro systems with Aluminumnitrid (AlN). This piezoelectric transducer has high interest in industry as sensor and actuator material. To realize these industrial applications a consortium, including Fraunhofer ENAS (competence: piezoelectric micro systems), the Canadian company Preciseley Microtechnology Inc. (competence: electrostatic micro systems) and EDC Electronic Design Chemnitz GmbH (competence: ASIC development) overcame two technical challenges within the project. On the one hand, the piezoelectric transducer processes were successfully integrated into the high volume production of the Canadian partner. On the other hand, the ASIC showed a fast, precise and low-noise measurement of the piezoelectric sensor signal. This development enable e.g. a miniaturization of highly precise endoscopic systems for OCT (optical coherence tomography). The consortium showed a technical path using OCT not only for ex vivo applications (e.g. in ophthalmology) but also for endoscopic based non-destructive in vivo applications.
The new development was funded by the BMWi (Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy) and the EDT (Economic Development and Trade) as part of the SME Innovation Programm (ZIM). A project demonstrator as example for the latest technical innovation in micro technology and micro systems was presented to Peter Altmaier, the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, during the SME innovation day of the AiF (Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschungsvereinigungen).