The Society for Microelectronics
(GMe — Gesellschaft für Mikroelektronik)
E. Gornik, K. Riedling
Gesellschaft für Mikroelektronik,
c/o Institut für Allgemeine Elektrotechnik und Elektronik, TU Wien
Gußhausstraße 27 – 29, A-1040 Wien
Goals of the Society for Microelectronics
The Society for Microelectronics (GMe) was founded in 1985 with the aim to "support microelectronics technology and its applications in an interdisciplinary way". The GMe defines its tasks as follows:
The central task of the GMe is the creation and maintenance of infra-structure for an internationally competitive microelectronics technology. The funds provided by the GMe support a variety of projects and activities in the fields of semiconductor technology, sensors, and opto-electronics. One of the criteria for the support of an activity by the GMe is a project area that needs seed money for infra-structure to obtain funding by other sources.
Activities of the Society
Currently, the GMe recognizes three focal points for its activities. In general, projects that expect support by the GMe must pertain to at least one of these areas. Other microelectronics-related projects may receive occasional support by the GMe, for example, for infra-structure that is a prerequisite to a funding by other sources, or in the case of an emergency. The current focal points of the GMe activities are:
Microelectronics Technology — Cleanrooms Vienna and Linz
The currently most important task of the GMe is closely linked to the construction and the operation of technological installations, in particular, of the cleanroom laboratories in Vienna and Linz. In 1992, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research invited the GMe to act as a coordinator for the construction of the Microstructure Center (MISZ — Mikrostrukturzentrum) in Vienna. The MISZ Vienna finished construction by the end of 1993 and went into operation in June 1994. The GMe now provides with its funds a significant part of the operation costs for the cleanroom laboratories in Vienna and Linz.
The following university institutes are supported within this focal point activity:
The results of these activities are outlined in this report. The first of the reports in either section summarizes the work that benefited from the general GMe contribution to the basic laboratory operation; the subsequent reports pertain to projects specifically supported by the GMe.
Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) — UNICHIP
The UNICHIP activities of the GMe are closely linked to the requirements of the Austrian industry: Based on groups at the Technical Universities in Graz and Vienna, and using equipment and software which were purchased from GMe funding, two major actions are pursued: (1) ASIC projects for partners in the Austrian industry, ranging from feasibility studies to the design of ASICs that are commercially produced; and (2) the education and training of engineers in the area of ASIC design. Due to its close links to industrial requirements, UNICHIP played a leading role in Austria. The UNICHIP groups also have a long-standing tradition in European cooperation; many years before Austria joined the EU, they participated in the "EUROCHIP" European project; currently, they are involved in the "EUROPRACTICE" program.
During 1996, the UNICHIP activities were merged into an Austria-wide activity that comprises all university-based competence centers for ASIC design, the Technologieverbund Mikroelektronik Österreich (TMÖ). The TMÖ includes the following university institutes:
Since only the original UNICHIP institutes marked with "*" in the list above received funding from the GMe, the other institutes included the TMÖ activity are out of the scope of this report.
One of the most rewarding potentials of microelectronics technology is related to applications in sensors: A large variety of possible sensors can be realized with comparatively modest technological resources, which makes them commercially quite interesting. In recent years, the GMe supported activities, mainly at the Technical University in Vienna, that led to sensors for medical, environmental, and technical applications, many of which could meanwhile be commercialized or have, at least, found commercial interest. Examples for such sensors are biosensors for metabolic parameters such as the concentrations of glucose and lactate, or temperature sensors that can be inserted into the combustion chamber of a Diesel engine.
The following university institute participates in this focal point activity:
Projects that are closely linked to microelectronics but do not belong to one of the above focal points have been supported on a smaller scale at the following institutes in 1996:
Other Activities of the Society
One of the declared tasks of the GMe is to provide information on current Austrian academic activities in the field of microelectronics to industry, in particular to Austrian small- and medium enterprises (SMEs). This will improve the transfer of knowledge between Austrian universities and industry. During 1996, the GMe began to supply editorial articles to an Austrian publishing house that targets its magazines on the management and technical staff of Austrian industrial enterprises. The articles presented some of those projects supported by the GMe that had a direct impact on Austrian industry. As an additional approach, the GMe installed a Web server in December 1996, which provides general information on the GMe and a collection of research reports. It is also planned to add the contents of this report to the GMe’s Web server. The GMe Web server is available under the URL:
Finally, the GMe prepared the biennial seminar "Grundlagen und Technologie elektronischer Bauelemente" in Großarl, Salzburg, which took place in March 1997. The seminar has first been held in 1977; since 1987, the GMe contributes financial support, and since 1993, the Society acts as its main organizer. The 11th Großarl seminar presented seven main lectures given by international experts, and 20 short contributions, most of which resulted from work supported by the GMe.