Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Festkörperphysik, FhG/IAF has a long-standing tradition and competence in III-V compound semiconductors for microelectronics and opto-electronics. It is one of the 58 research institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft focused on applied research in government and industrial contracts. In 2003 the Fraunhofer IAF had a total staff of 200, with 100 scientists and engineers, the annual budget (operating costs) was €16.2 million, the annual investments were €5.3 million. 12 students from different universities are working on their diploma or doctoral research. The FhG/IAF with a clean room of 800m2 for epitaxy, device and circuit processing technology is one of the leading research institutions for design, demonstration and small volume production of Mixed-Signal ICs (MIXICs) as well as Monolithic Microwave and Millimetre-Wave Integrated Circuits (MMICs). Devices and circuits are based on GaAs, InP, antimonides, and group III-nitrides. Further research fields include optoelectronic components, such as infrared detectors, high power laser diodes, as well as GaN-based LEDs and lasers.
Extensive facilities are available at the Fraunhofer IAF for epitaxial growth of III-V compound semiconductors materials using MBE and MOCVD. The microwave power applications are based on a high breakdown voltage GaN HEMT technology. High speed MIXICs and MMICs have been, so far, fabricated using pseudomorphic or metamorphic GaAs-based HEMT technology. Recently, a state-of-the-art InP-based DHBT technology for MIXIC applications has also been established. Such components can be used in high-speed optical communication systems or in ultrahigh-speed measurement equipments to test high-bitrate optical data links. A facility of wire and flip-chip bonding for packaging of MIXICs and MMICs to modules is also available. The institute is equipped with linear and non-linear design software, and both commercial and proprietary parameter extraction software, which has been used to model MIXICs and MMICs. The IAF has advanced test and characterization facilities, some of which are unique in Europe: eye diagram measurement system up to 100Gbit/s, S-parameter measurements up to 230GHz, large-signal measurement system for amplifier test, noise parameter extraction up to 40GHz, and power measurement systems up to 220GHz.
The Fraunhofer IAF has a long-standing experience in cooperative projects in the frame of national and European programmes in collaboration with industrial partners. In numerous national programmes, the IAF was programme and project leader, such as "GaAs Electronics", "III V Electronics", "Photonics I", "Photonics II", and "OptoSys", where IAF developed high-speed electronic components and photonic devices with record performance. In recent national programmes "KomNet" and "MultiTeraNet", the IAF was project leader and successfully developed high-speed mixed-signal electronic components for 40 and 80 Gbit/s optical communication systems in close cooperation with industry. Furthermore, the IAF participated in several ESA projects, in the EU project ACTS, and is a member of the European NoE TARGET.
The IAF has a unique expertise and facility to develop high-speed electronic components, comprising the complete technology chain from design, fabrication to packaging and characterization. A broad variety of MIXICs and MMICs are being developed at the Fraunhofer IAF, e.g., multiplexers, broadband driver amplifiers, demultiplexers, frequency dividers, voltage controlled oscillators (VCOs), clock and data recovery ICs (CDRs), low noise amplifiers, power amplifiers, phase shifters, mixers, and frequency multipliers. These integrated circuits combine high functionality with small chip size and cost-effective production. These state-of-the-art MIXICs and MMICs are developed in close cooperation with industrial partners, partly in joint research projects funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg), and the European Space Agency (ESA). The Fraunhofer IAF has also successfully collaborated in the past with the Fraunhofer HHI and Siemens developing MIXICs for 80Gbit/s optical data transmission. The role of FhG/IAF in the HECTO project will be the design, manufacturing and characterization of high-speed mixed-signal circuits and modules for an optical transmission system of 100Gbit/s, such as 2:1 multiplexers and driver amplifiers for the transmitter part, as well as clock and data recovery circuits (CDRs) including a 1:2 demultiplexer for the receiver part.