One of the most successful activities in medical technology research at the Chair of General and Theoretical Electrical Engineering has been the development of high-frequency antennae and coils for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In collaboration with the University of Heidelberg, scientists here developed an asymmetric coil to excite ­sodium nuclei. In a 3-Tesla MRI machine of the latest generation, this technology makes it possible for the first time to produce a high-contrast full-body image of cartilage and soft tissue, enabling better monitoring of the success of treatment for cancer metastasis. Also relevant to cancer therapy is an interdisciplinary research project to develop microchip-based cell sorting. The project is ­conducted by the chair together with Essen University Hospital, the Fraunhofer Institute for ­Microelectronic Circuits and Systems in Duisburg and Bartels Mikrotechnik GmbH from Dortmund. In 2012, the researchers presented the first optimized chip architecture to the scientific community. The Institute of Microwave and RF-Technology also successfully worked with several partners (see “Cooperation and International News”) in developing advanced methods of improving ­imaging in MRI. In a BMBF-funded collaborative project, the same institute developed the coil ­control unit for the MRI device described above. These components have made significant contributions to improving MR imaging.   
Another highlight of 2012 was the launch of the EU project “Better Upscaling and Optimization of Nanoparticle and Nanostructure Production by Means of Electrical Discharges” (BUONAPART-E) with a budget of 1.7 million euros. Coordinated by Professor Einar Kruis, this project aims to produce industrially relevant quantities of high-quality nanoparticles in the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly way possible.
The application of nanoparticles is key to the work of the Institute of Electronic Materials and Nanostructures, where nanoparticles and quantum dots with diameters of up to ten nanometers make for novel light sources. The ­research group was able to demonstrate how ­single quantum dots are excellent light emitters and supply single photons precisely when needed. Up to now, this has only been possible at very low temperatures. In collaboration with the ­University of Bremen, the researchers succeeded for the first time in verifying the emission of single photons at room temperature in such systems. Meanwhile, white-light emitters developed at the same institute exploit an entirely different attribute of nanoparticles: by depositing a layered structure of silicon and zinc oxide nanoparticles, the scientists were able to produce a large-scale light-emitting diode (LED). The work was performed in collaboration with Evonik Industries AG. What makes it attractive from an applications point of view is the cost-­efficient and robust production of the nanoparticles. A group of early stage researchers established in collaboration with Osram AG is moving into the NETZ building and will conduct further research in this area in future.
In its main area of Information, the department was successful in acquiring a large BMBF and an EU project on “cognitive radios”. Funding of 1.8 million euros for the UDE will permit ­development up to 2015 of new methods of dynamically allocating unused frequencies, which will have relevance for future cellular communication networks.