News & Analysis

Infineon heads European MEMs research project

1st February 2023
Mick Elliott

Infineon Austria is leading 27 partners from seven countries in Listen2Future, a new 30m Euro European research project to develop new and smallest microphone and ultrasound sensors for examinations in industry and medicine.

Adam White, Division President Power & Sensor Systems at Infineon Technologies says the project will help strengthen European companies’ positon in the global MEMs market where it already holds a 40 % share.

He cited Infineon’s intuitive sensing products.

Smart Ears categorizes ultrasonic and cost optimized microphones, Smart Nose covers CO2 gas sensors, Smart Feel includes air pressure sensors and smart eyes includes a 3Dtime of flight sensor.

The aim of the project is to bring the smallest micro-electro-mechanical sensors, or "MEMS sensors" for short, into high volume production at globally competitive costs and make them available for a wide range of applications for industry and medicine. The research will yield higher image resolutions in ultrasound probes, robust mini-hearing aids with first-class sound quality and low energy consumption.

The focus will also be on wearable ultrasound patches for early detection of heart disease, for example, and ultrasound devices for rapid infection control in infants. In industry, continuous quality control of materials and intelligent monitoring of the energy infrastructure are to be implemented

Precise mini hearing aids, fast infection controls for infants or wearable ultrasound patches become possible.

White points out that in Europe just one in three people with hearing problems use hearing aids.

Integrable systems for continuous material and quality control are getting a new boost from research. Aerospace components can be precisely screened to identify remaining useful life. Online condition monitoring of the power grid permanently checks critical components.

Medical care, healthy ageing, energy security and product quality are fundamental issues for our society. As sensory organs of technology, tiny sensors such as microphones and ultrasonic sensors play an important role in this. As a "digital ear", they record acoustic signals and allow rapid investigations. The research of "Listen2Future" will significantly improve the performance of existing systems and also produce completely new solutions that benefit society, people and health.   

"Demand for miniaturized, energy-efficient system solutions is growing worldwide," adds Adam White. “Semiconductors play a central role in this. Sensors capture data, microcontrollers process it and forward it. Infineon already supplies MEMS microcontrollers and solutions of the highest quality. With the research, we can now develop further first-class acoustic sensor systems and, in combination with highly efficient processors and artificial intelligence, raise the entire system to a new level together with our research partners thanks to our expertise in this area. The research work opens up enormous application potential and creates sustainable benefits." 

Picture shows l to r - Peter Kaiser, Governor of Carinthia, Andreja Rojko, Project Manager Infineon Austria, Sabine Herlitschka, CEO Infineon Austria und Adam White, Head of the Power & Sensor Systems division at Infineon Technologies AG. © Hannes Pacheiner

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