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TU Berlin: New Center of Excellence on „Semiconductor Nano-Photonics“

Grant by National Science Foundation of Germany enforces Berlins position as German focal point of research on novel optoelectronic devices & nanostructures

TU Berlin: New Center of Excellence on „Semiconductor Nano-Photonics“ Granted by National Science Foundation of Germany (DFG)

Berlins position as German focal point of research on novel optoelectronic devices and nanostructures is decisively enforced by this decision/ Additionally a new “School of Graduate Research on NanoPhotonics” has been granted

At its biannual grants meeting in Bonn on Wednesday November 22nd the National Science Foundation of Germany (DFG) has decided to follow the recommendation of an international reviewer panel to establish a new Center of Excellence (Sonderforschungsbereich) on Semi-conductor NanoPhotonics at Technical University Berlin as of January 1st 2008. TU Berlin’s position as one of the leading nationwide and European research centers on semiconductor photonics is decisively enforced by this long-term grant. Professor Dieter Bimberg put the team of principal scientists together and developed the strategy for the proposal. Professor Michael Kneissl will act as first chairman. Both are affiliated to the Institute of Solid State Physics at TU Berlin.

The groups of 26 principal researchers from three universities and four government funded research institutes will conduct research on novel photonic and nanophotonic devices based on a variety of materials under the headline „Semiconductor NanoPhotonics: Materials, Mod-els, Devices“. The long-term goals of this application oriented research are reaching from future laser TV via Terabit data communication in computer networks to the development of novel devices for secure data communication, quantum cryptography and communication, just to mention a few examples.

Funding and Duration

The total duration planned is 12 years 2008 – 2020 with a funding from DFG of about 35 M€ and additional funding by regional, national and European sources and by companies. For the initial period of 4 years more than 11 M€ were granted by DFG plus complementary funds by the various participating institutions, the local and the federal government and the EU.

Examples for applications

„Photonic and nanophotonic devices will be in the center of international research in the next decade. Development of nanophotonic devices has emerged in the last few years as a strategic field for future economic development. Our goals are novel applications and systems brought directly to market by start-ups of our institutes transferring our scientific results into products. I’m having particularly in mind high-brilliance high-power semiconductor lasers, powerful RGB laser projection systems, quantum cryptography, terabit per second ultrafast computer interconnects and the 100 Gbit Ethernet.”, explains Professor Dieter Bimberg, whose research group has pioneered internationally in the last decade the development of novel nanostructures and the development of novel nanophotonic devices.

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„I’m congratulating all scientists sharing this success and I’m absolutely delighted. Nano-photonics is a pacemaker not only for science but also for our economy. I’m certain that this novel center of excellence will be highly creative for inventing novel devices, which will strengthens the European position in international competition. We will encourage our Ph.D. students to bring their research results via start-ups to market and help them by using our scientific institutions as incubators. In such a way via the fabulous time to market for new products is dramatically reduced. We expect that our principal scientists and our young re-searchers will continue to play the decisive role in worldwide research of this area. This grant presents also a confirmation of our policy to bring young excellent scientists back from United States and combines them with our extremely experienced and successful Berlin researchers to new powerful teams.”, emphasizes Professor Kurt Kutzler, the President of TU Berlin.

The structure of the new center of excellence

Three complementary projects areas: materials, models and devices present the three pillars of the new center of excellence. “Neither in Germany nor in Europe there is a comparable center like the new Sfb with similar broad approach in this extremely complex research area. Our center consisting of scientists in the area of mathematics, material sciences, physics and electrical engineering is in this way unique. The close cooperation of theoretical groups with experimental and application oriented teams is extraordinary. We will work on the three most important mainstream material groups of compound semiconductors: GaAs, InP, and GaN. This enables us to cooperate with the most important players of international industry like INTEL, Agilent, IBM, Toshiba, NEC, Osram Opto Semiconductors or Philips just to mention a few. Only overseas, e.g. at the University of California or Santa Barbara and at Berkeley, or at the University of Tokyo teams are following similar coherent approaches.”, reports Profes-sor Dieter Bimberg.

The partners

The principal investigators and their teams are based at TU Berlin, Humboldt-University Ber-lin, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, Ferdinand-Braun-Institute, Heinrich-Hertz-Institute of Fraunhofer Society, Weierstraß-Institute for Applied Analysis and Stochastiks and Konrad-Zuse-Institute for Information Technology. They have been already previously work-ing independently in the various fields and have an excellent infrastructure. A number of the principal investigators and their groups have already previously cooperated in the center of excellence of “Growth Correlated Properties of Low-Dimensional Semiconductor Structures”, which was chaired by Professor Dieter Bimberg, TU Berlin. This NoE was successfully termi-nated after twelve and a half years in December 2006. Other partners found access to the new Sfb via the DFG-Center of Research “Matheon: Mathematics for key Technologies”.

Also starting now: Integrated Graduate College

Together with the Sfb a new school of graduated studies will start. The new structure which we will bring to the education of our Ph.D. candidates will merge the expertise of the three universities and the four research institutes. Mentors from different institutions will typically follow the success of each individual Ph.D. candidate. “In order to bridge the scientific-technological gap between the theoretical model and the functioning device it is of essence to have close cooperation of Ph.D. candidates from physics, mathematics and engineering sci-ences. Our network on which the school is based offers outstanding working conditions and will attract a large number of additional international young talents to Berlin and Magdeburg.”, explains Professor Michael Kneissl. Important building blocks of the new school are guest scientists and mentoring programs, additional external mentors, incentives for publications and patents, early participation at international conferences and help with child care. “Next to scientific education also decisive competences in communication inside the group, with other groups and outside world will be systematically trained. We will also actively pursue bringing more female scientists to hard core physics and engineering sciences.”

Technische Universität Berlin – Chair University
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg
Ferdinand-Braun-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik
Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik Heinrich-Hertz-Institut
Weierstraß-Institut für Angewandte Analysis und Stochastik und
Konrad-Zuse-Zentrums für Informationstechnik.

Additional information will be given by: Prof. Dr. Dieter Bimberg and Prof. Dr. Michael Kneissl, Institut für Festkörperphysik der TU Berlin, Tel.: 030/314-22001, E-Mail: bimberg@physik.tu-berlin.de und kneissl@gift.physik.tu-berlin.de

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