Articles

Future trends and potentials in micro- and nanotechnology

Dr Frank Osterwald is responsible for research in the field of power semiconductor packaging and cooling at Danfoss Silicon Power – a manufacturer of power electronic modules. He makes use of packaging and interconnection materials which involve micro- and nano particles and applies micro technologies in the module factory. For him, micro- and nano-materials development is a key to future power electronic module concepts and solutions. 

Which potential do you see in micro- and nanotechnology? How can it help to „make a better world“?
Power electronics is a key technology for the “Energiewende”. Power Electronics components and devices will involve micro- and nanotechnologies. Thus, micro- and nanotechnologies will help to facilitate the change from atomic- and coal fired power plants towards renewable en
ergies.
   
What are the current research trends in micro- and nanotechnology? Which research fields should be strengthened in the future?
On the one hand, the trend in semiconductor manufacturing is leading towards even smaller structures (in the nano range) and thinner layers. On the other hand, packaging and interconnection technologies seek for more reliable material combinations and functional surfaces. Micro- and nanotechnologies are believed to play a big role here.

How can we strengthen the technology transfer? What are the roles of industry, researchers and policy?
Technology transfer is not to be understood as one-way, being directed from the universities to the industry. In order to be able to conduct applied research work, the industry should have clearly expressed their needs to the researchers. Entering into research work together with the universities typically involves high risks which can be mitigated by public funding of joint research programmes and  research networks.