Electrical Engineering and Information Technology

The Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology focuses on five research areas: energy technology, medical technology, terahertz systems, mikroelektronics and photonics. Its 24 professors collaborate with the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems (IMS) in Duisburg, Forschungszentrum Jülich, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne and IMST GmbH in Kamp-Lintfort.

Research highlights

The department’s most successful research activities in the field of medical technology include the development of an ultrabroadband, self-tuning high-frequency coil for functional 7-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) by the Chair of General and Theoretical Electrical Engineering. It is based on a leaky-mode approach and facilitates the simultaneous stimulation of nuclear magnetic resonances in multiple elements. The results have been accepted for publication in Nature Communications. The Chair of Electronic Components and Circuits has successfully developed a non-invasive, wearable sensor system that detects human moods. This project was part of the interdisciplinary research training group ‘PAnalytics’, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The ‘DeePPG’ project team researches a depth-selective, light-based method for pulse transit time measurement at a single measuring position. Pulse transit time is a basic parameter of non-invasive mood and blood pressure measurement. Within the scope of the research profile on Tailored Materials , the ‘EWALD’ project researches innovative surface coating and structuring methods on the basis of atomic-layer deposition. These methods can influence the wetting properties of liquids electrically, allowing the researchers to manipulate minuscule amounts of liquids on surfaces, for example, in micro-laboratory diagnostics.

In the field of mobile radio and terahertz systems, the Chair of Communication Technology has developed wireless ad-hoc networks for emergency communications, researched security-relevant applications involving the wireless audio transmission of digital information, and measured the corresponding acoustic communication channel. The Chair of General and Theoretical Electrical Engineering has developed a roboterised antenna measuring station for spherical millimetre waves within the scope of CRC/TRR 196 ‘MARIE’. It is the world’s only site of its kind, and the project team intends to extend its capacity to support operation at 500 GHz in the medium term. The Chair of Optoelectronics has developed a terahertz imaging system based on photonic methods. This system exhibits the lowest level of phase noise of all known frequency range systems in the terahertz range and has won an IEEE Best Paper Award. The same researchers have demonstrated millimetre wave and terahertz radio systems with a spectral efficiency of approximately 8 bit/s/Hz, which has facilitated transmission rates of 100 Gbit/s in a frequency band that has already been licensed in the United States. Another development of the Chair of Optoelectronics is a milestone for future applications in terahertz communications: a terahertz beam control system with chip-integrated antenna elements.

In the field of micro-, nano- and opto-electronics, the Chair of Electronic Materials and Nanostructures has appointed Franziska Muckel as the new junior professor of electroenergetic functional materials. Professor Einar Kruis of the Chair of Technology for Nanostructures (NST) spearheads various projects in the Research Unit FOR 2284 ‘Model-based scalable gas-phase synthesis of complex nanoparticle’ and in the Priority Programme SPP 1980 ‘SpraySyn’. The Chair of Optoelectronics has successfully established TERAOPTICS, an European graduate school for research in terahertz photonics. It will be coordinated by the UDE’s Centre for Semiconductor Technology and Optelectronics until 2023.

In the field of energy technology, the Chair of Electrical Energy Systems appointed Professor Hendrik Vennegeerts as its new head in 2019. For the ‘NEXTGRID’ project, a testing lab with power hardware-in-the-loop capability has been established at the chair in order to simulate future regulation and management concepts of the continental European electricity supply system. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. This allows researchers to simulate large parts of the system in real time on a purpose-built computer; an amplifier interface is used to integrate scaled system components, such as wind turbines, photovoltaic systems and battery storage units. The system provides practical proof that the operational concepts and the regulations developed at the chair continue to work reliably in the event of communication latency or measuring errors. Through collaboration with the DLR in Cologne and a newly established junior professorship, the department is intensifying its activities in the field of thermoelectrics. Its members have produced a comparative study of the physical limits of high-temperature thermoelectrical concepts and thermophotovoltaics with the Faculty of Physics and the Chair of Technology for Nanostructures (NST). The ‘EStroS’ project, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and conducted by the Chair of Energy Transport und Storage in partnership with a medium-sized enterprise, has been completed successfully. Its objective was to develop and realise a highly precise measurement system for measuring large flows (6 kA) with frequencies of up to 100 kHz. The results facilitate improvements in the regulation and protection of high-voltage, direct-current electric power transmission system.

In the research profile on Smart Engineering, the Chair of Automatic Control and Complex Systems has intensified its focus on cyber-physical systems with embedded smart components and distributed system and information infrastructures. The Chair is successfully participating in the ‘GreenEnergyFirst’ research alliance, which develops novel concepts and methods for energy-optimised smart buildings.

Partnerships and international affairs

Members of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology work directly with many partners from research and industry. They include the following domestic and international academic and industry players: Rohde & Schwarz, Deutsche Bahn, ESA, II-VI, VODAFONE, Nokia, CORNING, SIKLU, THALES, DAS Photonics and RAL. Based in Duisburg, the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology coordinates the photonics developments for 5G in the European EUIMWP-COST network with more than 50 international partners. It also manages the UDE’s first graduate school, which hosts 15 doctoral candidates who conduct research into terahertz photonics. The Centre for Semiconductor Technology and Optelectronics supports joint laboratories with the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut für Höchstfrequenzelektronik in Berlin, TU Darmstadt and the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications. It also maintains research partnerships with ITMO University in Saint Petersburg (Professor Stanislav Glybovski), the University Medical Center Utrecht and TU Eindhoven.


Professor Steven X. Ding was honoured as a ‘highly cited researcher’ by Clarivate Analytics in 2019 and 2020.

Dr Franziska Muckel (now a junior professor) received the 2019 VDE Dissertation Prize for her dissertation on magnetic, solvent-based semiconductor quantum dots (‘Magnetisch dotierte Halbleiter-Quantenpunkte aus lösungsmittelbasierter Herstellung: Von der Funktionalität zum Bauelement’)

Dr Benjamin Willsch received the Sparkasse am Niederrhein’s 2020 Innovation Prize for his dissertation ‘Integration of Physically Unclonable Functions (PUFs) in CMOS’.

Sebastian Dülme won the IEEE Best Student Paper Award for his contribution to the International Microwave Photonics Conference 2019.

Professor Andreas Stöhr was appointed to the technical committee on transmitting and receiving equipment for radiocommunications (TC103/WG6) as the German representative of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Transfer and sustainability

The company airCode UG was founded by members of the department in 2019. In this start-up, Marc Hoffmann, Professor Niels Benson, Professor Daniel Erni, Professor Thomas Kaiser and Professor Roland Schmechel develop flexible, printable, chip-less radio frequency identification tags with Schottky diodes based on silicon nanoparticles for operating frequencies in the multi-GHz range. A novel training device for the diagnosis and treatment of vestibular vertigo developed at the Chair of Electronic Components and Circuits in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems, the otorhinolaryngologists’ association of North Rhine-Westphalia and Gesellschaft für Elektronik und Design mbH was authorised as a medical product in 2020 following a development and certification period of several years. The story of this headphone-like product, which was initially funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, from the initial idea to the final authorisation is a great example of successful technology and knowledge transfer.


With the joint ‘smartBeam’ application, the contributing chairs of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology have successfully participated in the ForLab research tender, a part of the Federal Government’s high-tech strategy. In January 2019, work began to expand the Centre for Semiconductor Technology and Optelectronics into Germany’s central research laboratory for terahertz beam steering. The expansion project has attracted 3.9 million euros in funding. At the same time, the EU, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the University of Duisburg-Essen are providing 7.5 million euros in funding for the establishment of a novel terahertz integration centre in the same building. It will facilitate the integration of maximum-frequency electronic and photonic circuits in future.

The Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio 196 ‘MARIE – Mobile Material Characterization and Localization by Electromagnetic Sensing’ has been extended successfully. This opens up long-term research perspectives for the contributing chairs from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology and their collaboration partners.