Big scope for Indo-Ger­man elec­tron­ics R&D part­ner­ship: Dr Prof. Kut­ter

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The Ger­man Fraun­hofer Re­search In­sti­tu­tion for Mi­crosys­tems and Solid State Tech­nol­ogy (Fraun­hofer EMFT) stands for ap­plied re­search into sen­sors and ac­tu­a­tors for peo­ple and the en­vi­ron­ment. Its com­pe­ten­cies in­clude: Func­tional Mol­e­cules, Sil­i­con Tech­nolo­gies, De­vices and 3D In­te­gra­tion, Foil Tech­nolo­gies, Mi­crop­umps and De­sign, Test & Sys­tem In­te­gra­tion. Each of these com­pe­tences in its own right al­lows new kinds of sen­sors and ac­tu­a­tors to be cre­ated. Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Christoph

Kut­ter, Di­rec­tor Fraun­hofer EMFT, in a ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion, said that, “The Ger­man R&D land­scape has a strong back­ground in most of these ar­eas, es­pe­cially in the fields of sen­sor, ana­logue, opto and power tech­nolo­gies. In­dia is very strong in soft­ware de­vel­op­ment and in in­te­grated chip de­sign. Bring­ing to­gether these com­pe­tences holds great po­ten­tial for suc­cess­ful R&D col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the 2 coun­tries.” The ex­cerpts:

Q: What are the emerg­ing trends in the field of mi­cro­elec­tron­ics glob­ally?

Prof. Kut­ter: Ac­cord­ing to the re­cently pub­lished high tech strat­egy of the Ger­man fed­eral govern­ment, the fol­low­ing trends will be shap­ing the fu­ture of mi­cro­elec­tron­ics: Mul­ti­func­tional elec­tronic sys­tems and sys­tem in­te­gra­tion tech­nolo­gies; Power elec­tron­ics for en­ergy ef­fi­ciency;In­no­va­tive tools for chip and sys­tem de­sign; Chip-based se­cu­rity tech­nolo­gies; Novel pro­duc­tion tech­nolo­gies – pre­cise, re­li­able and cost-ef­fi­cient.

In­no­va­tion and re­search ac­tiv­i­ties in these ar­eas are manda­tory for tack­ling the ground chal­lenges fac­ing our so­ci­ety on a global scale to­day and in the fu­ture.

Q: What are the prospects for In­doGer­man col­lab­o­ra­tion in this field?

Prof. Kut­ter: The Ger­man R&D land­scape has a strong back­ground in most of these ar­eas, es­pe­cially in the fields of sen­sor, ana­logue, opto and power tech­nolo­gies. In­dia is very strong in soft­ware de­vel­op­ment and in in­te­grated chip de­sign. Bring­ing to­gether these com­pe­tences holds great po­ten­tial for suc­cess­ful R&D col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the 2 coun­tries. Such ac­tiv­i­ties could be sup­ported by suit­able bi­lat­eral re­search pro­grammes and tar­geted tech­nol­ogy trans­fer un­der­tak­ings.

Q: The Elec­tronic mar­ket in In­dia is ex­pected to be a $400 bil­lion worth by 2020, which is cur­rently stated at $91 bil­lion (source: In­dia Brand Eq­uity Foun­da­tion). The thrust ar­eas of in­vest­ment are semi­con­duc­tor man­u­fac­tur­ing i.e. ESDM (elec­tron­ics sys­tem de­sign man­u­fac­tur­ing), telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ing, med­i­cal elec­tron­ics, au­to­mo­tive elec­tron­ics and so­lar en­ergy. Can you please high­light some of Fraun­hofer R&D com­pe­ten­cies in the afore­said ar­eas?

Prof. Kut­ter: The 67 Fraun­hofer in­sti­tutes can flex­i­bly com­bine their com­pe­tences, de­pend­ing on the in­di­vid­ual re­quire­ments and goals of each col­lab­o­ra­tive un­der­tak­ing. In­sti­tutes work­ing in re­lated sub­ject ar­eas also co­op­er­ate in Fraun­hofer Groups and fos­ter a joint pres­ence on the R&D mar­ket. The Fraun­hofer Groups in­clude:In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nolo­gies Life Sciences Mi­cro­elec­tron­ics Light &; Sur­faces Pro­duc­tion De­fence and Se­cu­rity Ma­te­ri­als and Com­po­nents

Whereas all the Fraun­hofer Groups can cer­tainly con­trib­ute to the ob­served thrust ar­eas of in­vest­ments in In­dia to a cer­tain de­gree, one of the most rel­e­vant ones is prob­a­bly the Fraun­hofer Group for Mi­cro­elec­tron­ics with its com­bined core com­pe­tences which in­clude: Semi con­duc­tor- based tech­nolo­gies, sen­sors and sen­sor sys­tems, power elec­tron­ics and sys­tem tech­nolo­gies for en­ergy sup­ply, de­sign for smart sys­tems, RF and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies, qual­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity, and sys­tem in­te­gra­tion tech­nolo­gies. Bundling the core com­pe­tences of the mem­ber in­sti­tutes al­lows sec­tor----

spe­cific, holis­tic and tai­lor-made sys­tem de­vel­op­ments for the in­dus­try part­ners.

Q: Do you see Fraun­hofer EMFT col­lab­o­rat­ing with OEMs in In­dia as a tech­nol­ogy re­source part­ner?

Prof. Kut­ter: Fraun­hofer, in gen­eral, is pur­su­ing sev­eral ac­tiv­i­ties out­side Ger­many as a tech­nol­ogy re­source part­ner to in­dus­try to­day. Im­por­tant is to achieve a win-win sit­u­a­tion for both par­ties, i.e. last­ing, suc­cess­ful busi­ness re­la­tion­ships are only pos­si­ble, if both part­ners ben­e­fit from the co­op­er­a­tion. For Fraun­hofer EMFT it would be im­por­tant to build trust­ful, long-term re­la­tion­ships to in­dus­trial part­ners in In­dia. Co­op­er­a­tion with In­dian in­dus­try could also be es­tab­lished via a Ger­man com­pany hav­ing op­er­a­tions, OEM’s or strate­gic in­dus­try part­ners in In­dia, since sup­port­ing the Ger­man in­dus­try abroad is of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to Fraun­hofer.

Q: One of the fac­tors ham­per­ing the growth of elec­tron­ics in In­dia is lack of tar­geted and proac­tive R&D in col­lab­o­ra­tion with in­dus­try. What scope do you see for Fraun­hofer EMFT in In­dia.

Prof. Kut­ter: Fraun­hofer EMFT could en­vi­sion de­liv­er­ing in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies to OEMs in In­dia in ar­eas like semi­con­duc­tor man­u­fac­tur­ing, MEMS, flex­i­ble elec­tron­ics or sen­sor and ac­tu­a­tor sys­tems. The tech­nol­ogy trans­fer could in­clude com­mon R&D ac­tiv­i­ties with the in­dus­try, tech­nol­ogy con­sult­ing by Fraun­hofer EMFT or staff ex­change agree­ments. Such ac­tiv­i­ties could be fi­nanced via R&D con­tracts di­rectly with the in­dus­try, or via tar­geted re­search projects funded mu­tu­ally by the In­dian and Ger­man gov­ern­ments. Fraun­hofer EMFT could also sup­port the In­dian re­search in­fra­struc­ture by help­ing to in­stall “Fraun­hofer-like” oper­a­tion mod­els for col­lab­o­ra­tive R&D in In­dia.

Q: Could you please high­light some of your re­cent tech­nol­ogy in­ven­tions/in­no­va­tions at Fraun­hofer EMFT?

Prof. Kut­ter: One ex­am­ple of the in­no­va­tive de­vel­op­ments of Fraun­hofer EMFT is the small­est mi­crop­ump in the world. Re­li­able, nano­liter-ex­act mi­cro dos­ing sys­tems are essen­tial for sev­eral ap­pli­ca­tions in the med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy, such as drug de­liv­ery or wound ther­apy. In the man­u­fac­tur­ing en­vi­ron­ment, the mi­crop­ump can help save ma­te­rial and re­duc­ing waste, e.g. by ex­act dosage of lubri­cants for the pro­duc­tion ma­chin­ery. An­other in­ter­est­ing re­cent tech­nol­ogy pro­ject is the lab-on- foil sys­tem for point-of- care di­ag­no­sis of in­fec­tious dis­eases. The sys­tem is based on elec­tron­ics printed on plas­tic foils, which en­ables low pro­duc­tion costs, thus mak­ing the sys­tem suit­able for dis­pos­able use in en­vi­ron­ments with no ac­cess to ex­pen­sive lab­o­ra­tory in­fra­struc­ture.

“Fraun­hofer EMFT could en­vi­sion de­liv­er­ing in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies to OEMs in In­dia in ar­eas like semi­con­duc­tor man­u­fac­tur­ing, MEMS, flex­i­ble elec­tron­ics or sen­sor and ac­tu­a­tor sys­tems.”

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