Research Topics

The ongoing miniaturization and complexity of electronic components requires new technologies and innovative material solutions. To achieve real industrial application potential, ensuring functionality, quality and service life in use is obligatory and has to be taken into account in technological developments. In global markets, reliability is a key differentiator for competitive products. This is especially true for products manufactured in Germany and Europe.

Thus, our research work focuses on the further development of methods of high-performance microstructural analysis and their targeted use for the evaluation and analysis of process-related and reliability-determining influences on the functionality of microelectronic and power electronic components, as well as micromechanical sensors and actuators. The focus of our activities is specifically on the detection, analysis and control of electrical and mechanical defects in materials and components of microelectronics, power electronics and microsystems technology as well as related semiconductor and nanotechnologies. In these areas, we work with leading international semiconductor manufacturers, producers of microelectronic and power electronic components and systems with applications primarily in reliability-critical automotive electronics, but also with producers in the field of modern electronic communication systems and the consumer goods industry.

Furthermore, in the field of trustworthy electronics, we are researching new, more powerful analytical methods for counterfeit detection and resilience testing of security features in electronic components and systems.

Automotive Packaging



In automotive packaging, semiconductor chips are connected to their surroundings, encapsulated for protection and assembled on substrates to form electronic components, modules and complex 3D-integrated microsystems and subsystems. We optimize designs, process steps and materials to increase reliability, especially in difficult environmental conditions (humidity, heat, aggressive substances).

Material diagnostics Power electronics


We identify, analyze and model defects and degradation mechanisms with the aim of increasing the quality, reliability and safety of power electronic components and systems. Our team of experts develops innovative methods, devices, and procedures for quality control, testing and defect analysis up to go-to-market readiness. Our experience and knowledge in applied microstructure diagnostics and reliability research help to bring innovative technologies and new materials to market faster.

Micromechanical testing and simulation


Our specially adapted methods of material characterization allow for an application-oriented and material-specific determination of material and damage parameters relevant to the component. Using them in numerical simulation tools allows for improved predictions of the possible reliability of ageing mechanisms already during the design process and for an in-depth understanding of the causes of potential failure modes during qualification or application in the field. For the use of new types of materials, we enhance the corresponding characterization methods.

Package and Assembly


Understanding interactions and property changes inside materials or components and at their interfaces allows us to clarify failure mechanisms or even prevent failure. As a result, systems and processes can be optimized in terms of their efficiency and reliability, and innovative technological approaches developed and implemented. Contact materials and connections (e.g. wire bond contacts, soldered, press-fit and adhesive connections) play a key role here.

Physical failure analysis


We localize, isolate, and analyze the causes of defects in electronic circuits based on silicon substrates at chip and wafer level. The aim is to uncover process-relevant deficiencies as well as to identify complex failure and degradation mechanisms. To this end, we use complex and powerful high-resolution failure analysis methods of electron and ion microscopy, defect localization as well as surface and trace analysis.

Non-destructive defect localization


We develop new methods, procedures and devices for non-destructive defect analysis, defect localization and industrial quality control. We aim to improve the detection of defects and hidden structures. The continuous development and optimization of our methods and tools enables us to improve our understanding of the relationships between material, process parameters and application conditions, so that yield, quality, reliability, and sustainability can be optimized.

GaN-HEMT devices



We localize and analyze electrically active defect structures in GaN-high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMT). The aim is to identify and determine the causes of stress- and application-related degradation mechanisms. To this end, we use complex and electron microscopy analysis methods as well as electron beam current imaging (EBIC) and high-resolution lock-in thermography (LIT). With the help of site-triggered trace analysis (ToF-SIMS), we evaluate possible contaminations in layer structures and interfaces.