Semiconductor processes require stability and know-how
The development in microelectronics progresses continuously. It aims at increasing functionality. In addition to the high-volume products (storage, microprocessors), more and more custom-designed systems are provided, which however cover a huge market. Certainly, the cost reduction plays an important role.
The diminution of the structures is one way to reach cost reduction. Because of high invest and high entry costs it is only efficient in case of high volumes. European, especially medium-sized semiconductor enterprises, follow a different path: moderate scale under integration of components for the enlargement of the application base. This includes non-volatile storages, voltage-proof transistors, power devices, resistances and capacitors for analogue circuits.
CMOS processes are developed for power electronics, rough ambiances, high temperatures and for the integration of sensor elements (optical, mechanical, biological, physic-chemical).
Compact single chip Microsystems are developed for the use in medicine, industry, automotive and consumer applications.
Ideal conditions in the Fraunhofer IMS:
In-house CMOS line on 200 mm wafer, professionally operated, acknowledged automobile quality, robust 0.35 µm CMOS process. Fraunhofer IMS develops entire processes but also process modules, components, sensors directly in the CMOS e. g. in a process for CMOS imager or for integrated pressure sensors.
The integration of new materials or micro-mechanical structures are not possible by implication, because a CMOS line always has to be restricted to maintain the high level quality. Therefore, Fraunhofer IMS has additionally assembled an own line for post-processing, which is currently enlarged significantly. CMOS wafers act as “intelligent” substrate. They contain trigger and read-out circuits, signal processing, conversion and outwards interfaces up to the wireless power and data transmission. On these wafers, these “substrates” layers and structures are now deposited and by this new components are produced. The development’s aim is to produce compact, “intelligent” microsystems.