Lithography

Li-Fi – Optical Wireless Communication

Industrie 4.0

Indoor Navigation and Localization

RFID Solutions

Acoustic Spectroscopy using Ultrasound

Screening Services for Micro- and Nano-Technologies

Embedded Non-Volatile Memory (eNVM)

Smart Industrial Solutions

The current mega-topics of the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 are closely linked to great economic opportunities for German industry. In addition to intelligent software, optimally-adapted hardware is also necessary for successful industry digitalization and to ensure future German competitiveness. Fraunhofer IPMS provides exemplary service with a comprehensive spectrum of smart industrial solutions including both photonic as well as non-optical MEMS, RFID solutions together with related software and technology developments for the semiconductor industry.

Lithography

Spatial light modulator with 512×2048 individually controllable mirrors of size 16×16 µm².
© Photo Fraunhofer IPMS

Spatial light modulator with 512×2048 individually controllable mirrors of size 16×16 µm².

With the decreasing size of semiconductor structures, the accuracy requirements on light exposure and the fabrication of light exposure masks are continuously increasing. Other, new lithography requirements have arisen in the back end and packaging areas, such as the 3D integration of chips. Through the use of spatial light modulators, new efficient light exposure devices can be developed for the semiconductor industry.

Spatial light modulators developed by Fraunhofer IPMS are made of micro mirrors arranged on a semiconductor chip (typically >10 × 10 µm per mirror). The number of micro mirrors can vary, depending on the application, from several hundred to several million. In most cases, an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) is used for controlling the orientations of the individual mirrors. In combination with laser light sources, highly-accurate, digitally-controlled exposure systems can be realized, e.g. for semiconductor masks. Other device components are optimized for the maskless, direct writing of lithographic structures (via laser direct imaging and electron beam lithography), e.g. for the fabrication of circuit boards. Spatial light modulators provide a very high data throughput and offer excellent perspectives for high productivity.

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Li-Fi – Optical Wireless Communication

Replacement of short cables and connectors for data rates up to 12.5 Gbps.
© Photo Fraunhofer IPMS

Replacement of short cables and connectors for data rates up to 12.5 Gbps.

Decentralized manufacturing processes where workflows are continuously monitored by means of machine-to-machine communication are prerequisite for the industrial production of the future. This includes the transmission of large amounts of data which usually still flows through cables. Because wireless communication via WLAN is inefficient and too slow, the demand for alternatives with stricter requirements on higher data rates, robustness, energy efficiency, data security and network connectivity is on the rise.

In its research on wireless data transmission technologies of the future, the Fraunhofer IPMS has focused on the use of light. Transmission rates of up to 12.5 gigabit per second over short ranges and up to 1 gigabit per second in distances up to 30 meters are already possible. Wireless systems are particularly advantageous for moving or movable plant components and offer greater reliability and security as compared to expensive solutions based on custom cables prone to wear-and-tear. In addition, wireless systems eliminate supplemental retooling and maintenance costs.

Fraunhofer IPMS has developed several communication modules which can be integrated into existing control systems and machine infrastructures via plug-and-play to use light to transmit data in a fast and secure manner. Modules based on Li-Fi technology replace the wear-and-tear prone high-frequency connectors and allow for improved data communication. High-frequency signals can thus be transmitted between devices faster and more reliably. Modules can easily replace cable and plug connections and are up to ten times faster than currently available radio-based transmitting solutions.

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Industrie 4.0

Manufacturing environment typical for Industrie 4.0.
© Photo Fraunhofer IPMS

Manufacturing environment typical for Industrie 4.0.

The industrial production of the future will be characterized by a high degree of automation and digitalization. The interplay of machines, manufacturing and services in cyber-physical systems (CPS) will enable decentralized, self-regulating production processes in the Smart Factory. The realization of these concepts calls for novel, easy-to-integrate system solutions for the acquisition and processing of manufacturing data.

With the goal of a one-stop-shop solution, Fraunhofer IPMS develops integrated hard- and software solutions that can be easily and quickly integrated into existing solution via plug-and-play. Acquired data is efficiently processed and analyzed to enable data-driven decisions for the manufacturing process.

A framework developed at Fraunhofer IPMS enables the easy acquisition of machine data and its analysis in a big data solution. Data analysis is based on methods from the areas of Complex Event Processing, Process Mining and Anomaly Detection. The insights gained from this analysis can be used in further modules, e.g. for precautionary maintenance planning and incident detection as well as central or decentral control of manufacturing processing (e.g. based on aspects of energy consumption).

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Indoor Navigation and Localization

Real-time location services and navigation in buildings.
© Photo Fraunhofer IPMS

Real-time location services and navigation in buildings.

In the times of the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0, the ability to locate electronic objects and movable assets within large buildings, warehouses and production facilities is becoming increasingly important. To determine the actual position of technical equipment, personnel and mobile inventory as well as to direct employees and guests quickly and safely to selected destinations, Fraunhofer IPMS has developed solutions for indoor navigation and localization.

With its systems for wireless tracking of materials, objects, people and tools, Fraunhofer IPMS offers its customers real-time location services (RTLS) for gapless tracking of mobile assets and navigation throughout buildings. RTLS solutions created at Fraunhofer IPMS are designed to be used in restricted areas as well as in various environments such as factories, hospitals and public buildings. Tracking methods are based on an existing WiFi infrastructure and require no additional hardware. Positions of and distances to inventory being tracked are displayed to the user via an Android app. The app provides users with location-based information enabling interaction with objects or equipment in their environment. The Fraunhofer IPMS solution supports geo-fencing for the marking of specific building areas. Objects entering or leaving these defined areas trigger responsive actions based on underlying rules.

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RFID Solutions

ROAD server provides a uniform and manufacturer-independent interface for RFID reader hardware and RFID sensor transponder.
© Photo Fraunhofer IPMS

ROAD server provides a uniform and manufacturer-independent interface for RFID reader hardware and RFID sensor transponder.

RFID technology is increasingly being used in modern production environments to autonomously control logistics or production processes or to perform maintenance-free measurements in hard to reach places or on moving parts and to provide wireless transfer with no internal source of energy. Fraunhofer IPMS develops solutions to facilitate the integration of new RFID components in existing or yet to be established process environments.

Fraunhofer IPMS offers a RFID OPC-UA AutoID (ROAD) Server for Industrie 4.0 environments. This middleware enables the easy integration of RFID readers, tags and sensors into complex production environments regardless of manufacturer. Once implemented on the basis of the OPC-UA interface, applications can continue to be used unaffected even by changes in reader or transponder population. In the area of RFID sensor nodes, Fraunhofer IPMS offers product-related technologies for passive battery- and maintenance-free sensor nodes used in various applications. These technologies support RFID frequencies LF, HF and UHF and can connect any sensors to passive transponders.

Acoustic Spectroscopy using Ultrasound

Illustration of a two-dimensional CMUT array in the deflected state.
© Photo Fraunhofer IPMS

Illustration of a two-dimensional CMUT array in the deflected state.

Spectroscopic examination by means of ultrasound provides information about the physical characteristics of materials as well as the chemical analysis of dispersions. By analyzing the frequency-dependent attenuation and speed of sound, quality conclusions and the composition of oils, alcohol-water mixtures or other liquids can be determined, providing an ideal complement to optical spectroscopy.

In this area of application, the use of capacitive micromachined ultrasonic transducers (CMUTs) can lead to new highly-compact environment measurement systems. In contrast to conventional ultrasonic piezoelectric elements, CMUTs are produced through a micromachining manufacturing process and allow for an extremely compact structure. Through a monolithic integration with CMOS circuits, sensors permit the installation of complete analysis systems on one chip. The ability to radiate sound in liquid media with extreme efficiency, provide highly sensitive detection and use a wide frequency bandwidth make CMUTs ideal for acoustic spectroscopy.

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Embedded Non-Volatile Memory (eNVM)

© Photo Fraunhofer IPMS

Embedded Non-volatile memories (eNVM) for advanced System on chip (SoC) solutions.

Embedded Non-Volatile Memory (eNVM) is increasingly gaining importance and is indispensable as the central component of modern System on Chip (SoC) solutions. Costs and form factors are minimized while energy efficiency and speed are maximized by fusing logic and memory onto a single chip. As a consequence of this fusion, memory cells and their characteristics as well as their compatibility with current technology platforms are of central importance for eNVM solutions.

Due to these specific requirements of embedded memory solutions, Fraunhofer IPMS is focusing on two core areas: First, the research and optimization of novel non-volatile memory cells w.r.t. data storage, degradation minimization and scalability and, second, their integration into current technology platforms such as 22 nm FDSOI, 28 nm HKMG and 1X nm FinFET. This particularly includes the transformation of new materials and processes into a 300 mm fabrication environment. Fraunhofer IPMS and its cooperation partners in science and industry are focusing their research and development efforts on the non-volatile memory concepts FeFET and FLASH (both integrated in FEoL) as well as RRAM und MRAM (integrated in BEoL).

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Screening Services for Micro- and Nano-Technologies

© Photo Fraunhofer IPMS

300 mm Screening Services for Micro- and Nanotechnologies.

In semiconductor device fabrication, the characteristics of raw materials and equipment are key factors for process performance. Fraunhofer IPMS offers suppliers, materials developers and equipment manufacturers an industrial test environment for 200 and 300 mm wafers that facilitates the evaluation and process parameter adaptation of individual products and the immediate re-integration into manufacturer production lines.

In addition to comprehensive analytical instruments, dedicated facilities for the examination and optimization of chemicals, materials and processes are available in the areas of atomic layer deposition (ALD), wafer cleaning, chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) and copper plating. The complete development cycle is supported, from process development over upscaling from lab to mass production, to tests involving specific wafers (2X nm technology nodes). Professional wafer handling and ISO 9001 compliant process management ensure a direct wafer exchange and the risk-free integration of innovations into the production line.

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