Research Fab Microelectronics Germany (FMD) – One-Stop-Shop for the complete micro and nanoelectronics value chain

Dr. Michael Meister, parl. Staatssekretär beim BMBF, Prof. Matthias Kleiner, Präsident der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft, Prof. Georg Rosenfeld, Fraunhofer-Vorstand, Prof. Hubert Lakner, Vorsitzender des FMD-Lenkungskreises. Foto/Copyright: Fraunhofer-Verbund Mikroelektronik / Uwe Steinert, Berlin.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems ENAS is one of 13 members of the Research Fab Microelectronics Germany (FMD) – Europe’s largest cross-location R&D collaboration for microelectronics and nanoelectronics, with over 2000 scientists. Within this new type of cooperation, the advantages of two strong and decentralized research organizations – the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the Leibniz  ssociation – are combined with the synergies of a central organization to form the world’s most capable provider of applied research, development, and innovation within microelectronics and nanoelectronics. The close intermeshing and the uniform public face allow the FMD to serve not only customers from heavy industry, but also to offer SMEs and startups more comprehensive and simpler access to the next generation of technology.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the setup of the FMD to the tune of 350 million euros, largely in the modernization of the institutes’ research equipment. With this funding, the BMBF intends to strengthen the innovativeness of the German and European semiconductor and electronics industry and is supporting the initiative with the largest investment in research devices since Germany was reunified.

A year and a half after the project started on April 6, 2017, a lot of new acquisitions for the modernization of the laboratory facilities at FMD’s locations around Germany went into operation. The ceremonial opening of the first integration line was on September 28, 2018, as part of the 1st FMD Innovation Day at the Berlin-based Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM, which hosted the event on behalf of all members.

At around the halfway point of the project, 45 percent of the planned investments for the FMD have been successfully fulfilled.

The setup of the Research Fab Microelectronics Germany is coordinated in a central business office in Berlin, although – true to the concept of a virtual organization – additional locations in Dresden and Munich have also been opened. The FMD business office is the central contact point for potential and existing customers and is thus a significant driver of the development of the business in the area of microelectronics and nanoelectronics.

In order to be able to offer nationally coordinated technology and system developments from a single provider, the technological expertise of the institutes was grouped into six overarching areas – the technology platforms known as Microwave and Terahertz / Power Electronics / Extended CMOS / Optoelectronic Systems / Sensor Systems / MEMS Actuators. Within these technology platforms, the FMD offers the market technological developments along the entire value creation chain, from system design to testing and reliability.

In addition to these technologically oriented offerings, the FMD also offers cross-institute application solutions from a single provider. This offers customers a way of realizing combined and optimized system solutions together the FMD and its institutes. In doing so, the Research Fab works in synergy with the business units of all institutes involved. We, as the FMD, can thus offer our customers a wider range of application solutions.

In 2017, successful project involvements were set up and orders were completed in combination with the FMD. For 2018, projects based on the FMD investments with a volume of 41.1 million euros can already be identified, which represents a significant success at such an early stage. The industrial share of this project volume is already at 30 percent, which highlights the importance of this unique cooperation in German microelectronics research to industry.

In 2019, the Research Fab Microelectronics Germany will enter the next phase. After establishment and structuring of the organization, the largest cross-location R&D collaboration for microelectronics and nanoelectronics in Europe, in partnership with its institutes, will prove its mettle on the market.

Fab Microelectronics Germany (FMD)