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 Austria. The GMe defines its tasks as follows:

The central task of the GMe is to provide an internationally competitive infra-structure in the area of microelectronics technology. The GMe allocates funds to maintain research projects in the fields of semiconductor technology, sensors, opto-electronics, and ASIC design. Thus the infra-structure support generates a base for research projects that are funded by other funding agencies.

Activities of the Society

The present focal point activities of the GMe are:

Microelectronics Technology — Cleanrooms Vienna and Linz

The main task of the GMe in the area of microelectronics technology is the operation of cleanroom laboratories in Vienna and Linz. In 1992, the GMe coordinated the construction of the Microstructure Center (MISZ — Mikrostrukturzentrum) in Vienna; the funds were supplied by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research. The MISZ Vienna finished construction by the end of 1993 and went into operation in June 1994. The GMe now finances a significant part of the operation costs for the cleanroom laboratories in Vienna and Linz.

The following university institutes receive support within this focal point activity:

Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) — UNICHIP and TMOe

These 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 ("UNICHIP"), and using equipment and software that were purchased from GMe funding, two major actions have been pursued now for more than a decade: (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 (TMOe). The TMOe receives separate funding from various federal and regional sources; the GMe acts as a mediator between the two federal ministries that provide basic funds, and the TMOe. The TMOe includes the following university institutes:

Since only the original UNICHIP institutes marked with "*" in the list above got direct funding from the GMe, the other institutes included in the TMOe activity are out of the main scope of this report.

Microsensors and Other Projects

Microsensors are the most important among the remaining individual projects that received some GMe support. Projects carried out at the following institutions obtained GMe funding in 1997:

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 "know-how" between Austrian universities and industry. As an example, the GMe supplied 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.

To enhance the distribution of the results of the research work done with GMe support, the GMe has put the contents of its previous annual reports — 1995 and 1996 — on its Web server; this will also happen for this report. Although we did not explicitly advertise on a larger scale the existence of this server and its contents, it has apparently been fairly well accepted by the international community. Access statistics in operation since November 1997 show an average access count of 3 per day; however, an amazingly large percentage of these accesses — close to 50 per cent — originates from net domains outside Austria. About one quarter of the visitors of the GMe’s web site visited it more than once. The GMe Web server is available under the URL:

Finally, the GMe prepared and carried out 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, which resulted from work supported by the GMe. The program of this seminar is included in the appendix of this report. Currently, the GMe considers a major re-structuring of the seminar that should address the Austrian and foreign industry to a greater degree, in conjunction with changing its venue. The next seminar is due in the spring of 1999; the first preparations are already on their way.