New Materials

Optical and Nanocomposite based Systems

In recent years, novel materials are used for micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and micro-opto-electro-mechanical systems (MOEMS) beside standard silicon. The range of materials includes, for example, polymeric materials, micro- and nanocomposites or manmade photonic crystals.

At the Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nano Systems, we focus on the use of micro- and nanocomposites for the development of micro sensor and actuator systems. Composites consist typically of a polymer matrix and embedded (inorganic) fillers, such as micro- and nanoparticles. Here, the composite properties are directly determined by the characteristics of the introduced micro- and nanostructures (such as quantum effects, magnetic and electrical properties). In addition, new perspectives for the production and application of such systems result from the combination of filler and polymer matrix.

Thus we are able to equip innovative microsystems with entirely new functions and to design them cost-effective. Hereafter some examples of recently at the Fraunhofer ENAS realized composite-based systems are presented.

Humidity Sensors

The produced novel composite humidity sensors operate on the capacitive principle of measurement. The sensitive elements are ceramic particles embedded in polymers. This allows to combine the advantages of bulk ceramics and polymer sensors and to minimize the disadvantages of conventional systems.

Magnetic Force / Position Sensors

Using magnetic composites first sensor systems for the direct determination of magnetic forces or the position of magnetic markers (for example, permanent magnets) have been developed and manufactured. They are an economical alternative to well-known robust measurement systems, such as optical or Hall sensors.

Quantum Dot Based Systems

Semiconductor nanocrystals, so-called quantum dots, show several advantages compared to organic light emitters. These include excellent chemical stability and narrow emission bands. In addition, quantum dots are very sensitive to electrical charges and fields, making them attractive candidates for nano-sensor applications.