Electronic Design

Integrating Capacitors onto Integrated Circuits

Pan-European research project aimed at making electronic devices more compact and efficient

German chip manufacturer Infineon Technologies has been named as project coordinator for the five participating German partners in a new pan-European research project aimed at making electronic devices more compact and efficient.

A total of 17 companies and research institutes in the semiconductor and automotive sector are collaborating in MaxCaps (materials for next generation capacitors and memories).

The design goal of the MaxCaps project is to develop methods for integrating capacitors ICs, thus reducing the number of discrete capacitors currently mounted on PCBs by up to 30%.

Depending on the application, the space required by PCB-mounted discrete capacitors could be cut by about a half. Furthermore, chip-integrated capacitors enhance the overall reliability of electronic systems due to the smaller number of soldered connections on the board.

Currently, capacitors must be board-mounted as separate discrete components with correspondingly high-space requirements. The MaxCaps partners are looking for alternatives to the silicon dioxide and silicon nitride materials currently used as dielectrics in chip manufacturing.

The partners in the project are; Aixtron AG, Continental AG, IHP - Innovations for High Performance Microelectronics, Leibniz Institut fuer innovative Mikroelektronik, R3T GmbH, and Infineon – will demonstrate their research results by reference to a capacitor network for an automobile transmission control unit. The extreme ambient conditions encountered in cars with typical temperature cycles from -40°C to 125°C, strong vibrations and high rates of acceleration will help assess the capabilities of the new materials. Companies, universities and research facilities in Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Finland, France, Ireland, and the Netherlands are working on the MaxCaps project within the framework of the European MEDEA+ Program and the IKT 2020 Program of the German Federal Government.

The MaxCaps research project is funded Euro 2.75 million by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, as part of the German Federal Government’s Hightech-Strategy and the funding program, “Informations und Kommunikationstechnologie 2020 (IKT 2020).”

One objective of the IKT 2020 Program is to extend the application scope of electronics and to support the development of high-quality products with innovative materials.

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