Research Highlights

One of the most successful medical technology research activities in General and Theoretical Electrical Engineering has been the development of high-frequency antennae and coils for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The best dipole element to date for a multi-channel transmit coil in 7-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging was developed in this research group and presented at international conferences. With a 41 cm field of view and unparalleled uniformity of the magnetic field, it outperforms all previous dipole-based coil systems. Work on simulations also produced the most ­accurate electromagnetic model of the human skin to date, which occupies a chapter in the world’s first scientific reference work on the subject, “Computational Biophysics of the Skin”.

Some fundamental milestones were reached at the Institute of Optoelectronics for future ­research on integrated ultrahigh frequency photonics. The researchers succeeded for the first time in producing photodiodes whose power output exceeds the milliwatt limit in the millimetre-wave range. For the highest frequencies, novel plasmonic nanostructure arrays for optical 200 THz antennae were designed and built in collaboration with the University of Ottawa. In “Tera50” a ­research collaboration was also established in Duisburg as part the DFG Priority Programme “100 Gigabit per Second Wireless”. In addition to Optoelectronics as the coordinator, Communication Systems, Digital Signal Processing and Microwave and RF Technology are also researching the technological conditions for ultrafast radio systems. Further activities in the field of integrated ultrahigh frequency photonics have also begun following acquisition of three EU collaborative pro­jects, one of the aims being to develop components and subsystems for future 5G mobile networks.

Work in Electronic Materials and Nano­structures meanwhile centres on coating with graphene. A system for deposition of this innovative material was installed in the clean room at the Centre for Semiconductor Technology and Opto­electronics and commissioned in summer 2014 by NRW Economics Minister Svenja Schulze. The scientists are now equipped to work in the near future on the numerous externally funded projects they have already secured. Their work will explore diverse aspects of graphene, including its role in high-frequency transistors, as a transparent electrode for a-Si thin film solar cells, as technology for large-surface (opto)electronic applications, and its long-term stability. A junior research group, which was established in cooperation with OSRAM AG and is now located in the NanoEnergie­TechnikZentrum (NETZ), has already achieved its first successes in this area (see Awards and Distinctions).

One of the research themes in Automatic Control and Complex Systems is the development of innovative techniques for plant-wide monitoring and fault prognosis for the technical management of industrial installations. In co­operation with the Hochschule Lausitz, PC-Soft GmbH and user company BASF Schwarzheide GmbH, novel procedures were developed and implemented in this area. In a BMBF-funded ­collaborative project with IMST GmbH and two other SMEs, the research group will be putting its expertise into creating an innovative radar-based surface inspection system in steel band manu­facturing.

Electronic Components and Circuits collaborated closely with RWTH Aachen on developing a mechanically flexible image sensor that is less than 30 µm thick and can be bent like a film. In the future, the technology behind this development will make it possible to build novel ­cameras with a panoramic view similar to the compound eye in insects.

The Technology for Nanostructures group meanwhile succeeded in securing project funding under the DFG Priority Programme “Dynamic Simulation of Networked Solid Matter Processes”. The central goal of this 6-year programme is to create numerical tools for a dynamic simulation of networked solid processes. Here the group is developing Monte Carlo techniques specifically for inexpensive but high-performing graphics processors.