Research Overview

With »FMD-QNC,« the Research Fab Microelectronics Germany (FMD) provides facilities for customized microelectronics manufacturing as well as integration for quantum and neuromorphic computing. The research structures are connected to industry-oriented research and pilot lines, including superconducting and memristive circuits, 3D system integration and highly integrated radiation sources.

As a result, it should be possible to develop solutions for partially extreme operating environments with high requirements, such as ultra-high vacuum, cryogenic temperatures, or special electromagnetic or thermal shielding or decoupling. This creates the process and technological prerequisites for the design, manufacturing, and characterization of chips for neuromorphic computing, as well as various QC technologies (superconductor, neutral atom, ion trap, and solid-state spin-based).

Industry-relevant research conditions and easy access to research infrastructure 

In addition to research activities and the practical testing of developments, the »QNC-operator model« and »Microelectronics Academy« are two other components of the overall project FMD-QNC. The planned Microelectronics Academy will focus on both early awareness raising among the upcoming generation of professionals in the field of microelectronics and on the training and further education of experts already in their professional careers.

The so-called QNC-operator model should include a flexible and easily accessible access model for industry and research to respond agilely to advancing new developments and the needs of research and development, as well as to accelerate the transfer to the economy. To this end, three specific project corridors for technology development, pilot production, and advanced research should be established. In addition, networks with various user groups and selected accompanying research work to integrate the technologies into the research structures are to be expanded. This includes a QNC Space for testing special manufacturing methods, multi-project technologies as simplified access to chip production processes, and an open design platform.

Dr. Oliver Pyper, FMD-QNC project manager

European research organizations are collaborating to address current and future challenges in electronics research

The FMD-QNC is complemented at the European level by the 'PREVAIL' project (Partnership for Realization and Validation of AI Hardware Leadership), which started simultaneously on December 1, 2022. The project involves four European research organizations CEA-Leti, Fraunhofer, imec and VTT to create a connected 300mm technology platform for the production of chip prototypes for advanced artificial intelligence and neuromorphic computing applications. The national part of PREVAIL includes the four Fraunhofer institutes EMFT, IIS, IPMS, and IZM, which, as part of FMD, expand their 300mm manufacturing, design, and testing facilities and complement the 300mm technology of their European research partners. The planned project activities within PREVAIL and FMD-QNC are synergistically connected and are important preparations for the technological foundation of the 'European Chips Act.' The European Commission's package of measures aims to elevate semiconductor technology development to a new level and enhance European innovation in microelectronics.