Exchange on European semiconductors and climate-neutral technologies

01/18/2023 - Member of the Bundestag Chantal Kopf visits Fraunhofer IAF

The direct exchange between politics and research is enormously important to further expand Germany’s and Europe’s technological leadership and to master the challenges of the energy transition. For this reason, Fraunhofer IAF welcomed Chantal Kopf, Member of the Bundestag for the constituency of Freiburg for Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, on January 10, 2023. A personal discussion with the Executive Director of the Institute, Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Quay, was followed by a guided tour through the clean room of the Institute. Central topics of the visit were the “European Chips Act” and research into climate-neutral technologies to overcome the ongoing energy crisis.

Group photo of three women and one man in clean room suits.
© Fraunhofer IAF
Member of the Bundestag Chantal Kopf (third person from the left) of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen next to the Executive Director of Fraunhofer IAF, Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Quay (second person from the left)
Two women during a clean room tour at Fraunhofer IAF
© Fraunhofer IAF
During a guided tour through the clean room of Fraunhofer IAF, Member of the Bundestag Chantal Kopf gets an insight into the production of semiconductor chips.

The “European Chips Act” is intended to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness and sovereignty in the field of semiconductor technologies and to contribute to both advancing the digital transformation and further developing climate-neutral technologies. As one of the leading research institutes in the field of III/V semiconductor technologies, Fraunhofer IAF possesses the necessary core competencies. Through her visit, Member of the Bundestag (MdB) Chantal Kopf gained on-site insight into the practical research and development work based on the entire semiconductor value chain as mapped by the researchers of Fraunhofer IAF from material development to the finished module.

“We are currently experiencing the risks associated with asymmetric dependencies in global supply chains. Strengthening research, development and production in Europe in key sectors such as semiconductor technologies is a major priority for us, and I am committed to making rapid progress in this area and providing sufficient financial resources. I am all the more pleased that with the Fraunhofer IAF in Freiburg, important innovations are being created in my constituency, for example in high-frequency electronics, and that the issue of climate-friendly digitization also plays a central role in this,” says MdB Chantal Kopf.

Rüdiger Quay sees collaboration as an important pillar for shaping the future in a positive way: “Politics and applied research are dependent on each other: Innovative technologies can demonstrably improve people’s lives and thus make a decisive contribution to fulfilling a central mission of politics. But without the appropriate political framework, ideas have no room to grow, or they fizzle out due to a lack of funding or the will to implement them. That is why the exchange between the two sectors is so important.”

Innovations in semiconductor technology have a direct influence on the success of the digital transformation and the achievement of climate targets. The extremely powerful III/V semiconductors in particular are increasingly coming into focus. In recent years, they have also been used in everyday applications. For example, transistors based on the compound semiconductor gallium nitride (GaN) are increasingly being used in commercially available chargers for mobile devices instead of the previously dominant silicon (Si). GaN makes the charging process many times more efficient thanks to its physical properties and is also significantly more robust than Si. These advantages enable everyone to use valuable resources more sustainably—and thus contribute to following one of the central political imperatives of our time.

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Value chain at Fraunhofer IAF

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