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Microsystems Technology

Advanced Materials


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The term “nano” originates from “nanos”, the Greek word for “dwarf”. 1 nanometre is miniscule and cannot be seen with the naked eye. It has the inconceivable size of one billionth of a metre. A comparison: 1 nanometre is around 50,000 times smaller than the diameter of a thin human hair.

Microsystems technology

Micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) or micro-opto-electro-mechanical systems (MOEMS) combine such varied base technologies as mechanics, optics, fluidics, polymer electronics and new materials.

Advanced Materials

Materials form the basis for almost all technical innovations and are fundamentally crucial to the technological progress of our society. Today, high temperature-resistant ceramics, lightweight fibre composite products or special aluminium wrought alloys, for instance, have taken the place of materials like stone, wood or bronze.


Optical technologies are regarded as belonging to the key technologies of the 21st century and are an important lever for many segments, from the electronics industry and machine engineering through to medicine. Compared with the national average, North Rhine-Westphalia is home to a disproportionately high number of companies and research institutions in the field of optical technologies.

Latest Projects

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Space TEchnology with Photonics for market and societal challenges

Space technology and photonics are among the most important industrial competences in Europe. The combination of both technologies opens up entirely new possibilities for tackling a multitude of today’s societal challenges such as in the area of health, climate protection and safety.

In order to better exploit the potential of photonics-based space technology, the existing public funding instruments must be optimized so that space technology projects are used more specifically for civilian applications on Earth. Investing in research and development of marketable products and services must address the major societal issues while exploiting the potential offered by space technology (for example by providing large amounts of data). The STEPHANIE project develops policy recommendations for action geared to regional needs and the development of regional support programs and value chains.

Read the first issue of the STEPHANIE-eBulletin


RegiOnal Collaboration on Key Enabling Technologies

The ROCKET project promotes cooperation between business and science in the German-Dutch border region between North Sea and Lower Rhine to strengthen research, technological development and innovation.

Key Enabling Technologies (KET, such as nanotechnology, microsystem technology, micro- and nanoelectronics, advanced materials as well as photonics) form the technological basis for the answers to the global challenges.

This project is financially supported by the European Union and INTERREG partners within the INTERREG program.


Delivering Nanotechnologies, advanced Materials and Production to REGional manufacturing

Nanotechnology, New Materials and Production Technology (NMP) are key technologies of the 21st century and form a cornerstone of EU research and innovation policy. NMPs have the potential to generate high-quality products with improved or new material and surface properties, reduce production costs and thus create long-term growth, employment and competitiveness in the European regions.

However, it is necessary to accelerate the transfer of new technologies and materials to industrial production. This is precisely where the NMP-REG project is based, by analyzing the existing framework conditions for NMP transfer from research to the economy, designing optimization options to increase efficiency and transferring them into regional action plans.


Erfassung und Katalogisierung der deutschen Raumfahrtakteure (Gathering and cataloguing of the German aerospace players)

Space technology is one of the most important industrial competencies in Europe. Numerous actors from Germany also make their innovative contribution here.

The aim of the project is to examine which institutions are active in the space sector in Germany. For this purpose, comprehensive research in the field of federal and state authorities, universities, technical colleges, non-university research institutions, companies, associations, networks, clusters and incubators shall be accomplished. The profiles of the activities and institutional data should be collected for the respective institutions. The aim of the project is to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the public and private space players in Germany. A market overview and an overview of the research landscape is fundamental for the DLR RFM in order to provide competent advice to the BMWi regarding the further development of the space strategy and to be able to prepare future policy decisions in the future in a more targeted manner.