DRESDEN, Germany Infineon, Globalfoundries, and, until recently, Qimonda these large chip vendors have shaped the image of the 'Silicon Saxony' area around Dresden as one of Europe's largest electronics innovation clusters. But there is more than silicon in Saxony: A number of renown R&D institutes and high-tech universities forms a fertile soil for a vivid start-up scene.
In the region around Dresden, the innovation and technology ecosystem has continued almost unimpressed by the downturn of the classical semiconductor markets and the insolvency of DRAM maker Qimonda. Research institutes and start-up companies focusing on topics such as organic electronics and photovoltaics drive innovation in the region and, in part, even in global markets.
One of them is the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (Fraunhofer IPMS). Generally, the idea behind the Fraunhofer research network is to close the gap between mostly academic basic research and product-oriented application development. With 240 researchers and engineers, IPMS is one of the top research institutes focusing on sensor and actuator systems one research topic of IPMS is micro mirror arrays for photolithography applications in next-gen semiconductor production landscapes.
The field where Fraunhofer IPMS however excels in particular is materials and production processes for organic electronics. The institute runs a prototype production line for second-generation organic substrates for solar panels as well as OLED panels. With a panel size of 370mm x 470mm, "we have a rather leading position," claims Christian May, manager of IPMS organic materials and systems business field.
While the market for small OLED displays is already dominated by Asian vendors, the OLED research at IPMS aims at large displays and, even more so, lighting applications. In contrast to solid-state LED, organic light diodes are perfect when it comes to diffuse lighting.