In their winning project “EdgeLimit”, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF, together with Fraunhofer IIS and the University of Freiburg/INATECH, researched disruptive semiconductor technologies and approaches for more energy-efficient mobile antenna systems. The project presents a concept for the use of novel power semiconductors for high-frequency amplifiers in 5G base stations based on aluminum scandium nitride (AlScN). The material’s high current-carrying capacity offers the potential for significantly higher power density and gain compared to established semiconductors such as silicon, GaAs and AlGaN/GaN. The project aims to at least double power efficiency at the amplifier level at new mobile radio frequencies and halve losses in power converters.
“At the network level, large amounts of energy are to be saved through intelligent networking of transmission modules and antennas with demand-based control, e.g., in factory networks or for fast video transmission into cars,” explains project coordinator Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Quay, deputy director of Fraunhofer IAF and professor for Energy-Efficient Radio-Frequency Electronics.
Intended project partners: Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF, Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, University of Freiburg (Institute for Sustainable Technical Systems – INATECH), Nokia Bell Labs, United Monolithic Semiconductors GmbH, Deutsche Telekom AG (associated), Nokia Solutions and Networks GmbH & Co. KG
About the competition
The innovation competition “Electronics for energy-efficient information and communications technology” takes place within the framework of the initiative “GreenICT,” which is part of the action plan “Natürlich.Digital.Nachhaltig.” (transl.: natural.digital.sustainable.) of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and is a building block of the German government's Climate Protection Program 2030.
In total, three winning teams were selected, including Fraunhofer IAF and its partners. The winning teams can now submit their research project designed in the competition to the BMBF for further funding and will receive funds of 12 million euros for this purpose. Together in a network with strong industry participation, the winning teams are to further develop their approaches into systems that can be applied in concrete products or services.