Infineon Leads MaxCaps Research Project
Infineon Technologies AG was named as the project coordinator for the five participating German partners in a new pan-European research project aimed at making electronic devices more compact and more efficient. A total of 17 companies and research institutes in the semiconductor and automotive sector are collaborating in "MaxCaps," which stands for "materials for next generation capacitors and memories."
The goal of the MaxCaps research project is to develop methods for integrating capacitors on silicon chips, thus reducing the number of discrete capacitors currently mounted on printed circuit boards (PCB) by up to 30%. Depending on the application, the space required by PCB-mounted discrete capacitors could be cut by about a half. Furthermore, chip-integrated capacitors enhance the overall reliability of electronic systems due to the smaller number of soldered connections on the board. It is particularly those applications where it is important to save space that stand to gain from the smaller board dimensions. This applies equally to electronic control units in cars and to mobile devices such as mobile phones.
The findings of the MaxCaps research activities, which will continue until August 2011, will form the basis for integrating high-capacity capacitors on silicon chips. Currently, capacitors must be board-mounted as separate discrete components with correspondingly high space requirements. The project partners are therefore looking for alternatives to the silicon dioxide and silicon nitride materials currently used as dielectrics in chip manufacturing. MaxCaps targets at the development of new isolating materials with a high dielectric constant of at least 50 and the associated deposition processes.
The German partners in the project – Aixtron AG, Continental AG, IHP - Innovations for High Performance Microelectronics / Leibniz Institut fuer innovative Mikroelektronik, R3T GmbH, and Infineon – will demonstrate their research results by reference to a capacitor network for an automobile transmission control unit. The extreme ambient conditions generally encountered in cars with typical temperature cycles from -40 to 125 °C, strong vibrations, and high rates of acceleration will help assess the capabilities of the new materials.
Companies, universities and research facilities in Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Finland, France, Ireland, and the Netherlands are working on the MaxCaps project within the framework of the European MEDEA+ Program and the IKT 2020 Program of the German Federal Government. The MaxCaps research project is funded to an amount of Euro 2.75 million by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), as part of the German Federal Government’s Hightech-Strategy and the funding program "Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologie 2020 (IKT 2020)". Among others, the goals of the IKT 2020 Program are to extend the application scope of electronics and to support the development of high-quality products with innovative materials.
The 17 research partners are makers of chemicals and deposition equipment, semiconductor manufacturers, system suppliers to the automotive industry, research institutes, and universities: Air Liquide (France), Aixtron (Germany), Analog Devices (Ireland), ASMI (Belgium, France, Finland), Bronkhorst High-Tech B.V. (Netherlands), CEA-LETI (France), Continental (Germany), IHP - Innovations for High Performance Microelectronics / Leibniz Institut fuer innovative Mikroelektronik (Germany), IMEC (Belgium), Infineon Technologies (Germany), NXP (Netherlands, Belgium), Oxford Instruments (UK), R3T (Germany), SAFC Hightech (UK), STMicroelectronics (France), Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands), Tyndall National Institute (Ireland), and the University of Helsinki (Finland).