New Tenure-Track Professor Taking Over the Sensors Laboratory at the Department of Microsystems Engineering

Prof. Dr. Alwin Daus will investigate novel thin-film materials and create sensors, transistors, and memory devices for flexible electronics, 3D integrated circuits, and neuromorphic computing.

Electrical engineer Alwin Daus joined the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) on May 31, 2023, after previous affiliations at RWTH Aachen University, Stanford University, and ETH Zürich. He will be accompanied by his Emmy Noether group, which focuses on the growth of emerging two-dimensional (2D) semiconductors and their use in flexible field-effect transistors.

“I look forward to starting collaborations with colleagues at various institutes in Freiburg like IMTEK, the Department of Sustainable Systems Engineering (INATECH), the Faculty of Medicine, and Fraunhofer Institutes in the future, says Daus.

The promise of emerging thin-film materials

At the core of Daus research is the use of thin-film semiconducting materials which can be incorporated into devices using low-temperature processes. Among them there are amorphous oxide semiconductors (e.g., indium gallium zinc oxide or indium tin oxide), which can be deposited even at room temperature, and 2D transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) for which Daus has developed a dedicated integration approach for flexible electronics. The integration with a low thermal budget is important because flexible plastic foils typically withstand only around 150-300 °C before degradation. Similarly, in silicon integrated circuit (IC) technology there are growing efforts for back-end-of-line (BEOL) integration of functional devices (e.g., non-volatile memory) which limits temperature to 400-450 °C to prevent changes to the underlying silicon electronics.

New application directions

The abovementioned emerging semiconductor thin-film materials are promising for a variety of sensor applications like temperature sensing, strain sensing and (bio-)chemical sensing. Daus aims to specifically explore application scenarios that include flexible substrates. Such flexible sensors could play an important role in various Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications such as food packaging, goods and environmental monitoring, electronic skin, as well as biomedical diagnostics.

Furthermore, the monolithic integration of emerging non-volatile memory devices in 3D ICs enables new directions for next generation microprocessors, where such devices can be used as embedded memory or for in-memory computing. Part of Daus’ research efforts are to tailor resistive memory devices, so called memristors, for use in brain-inspired (neuromorphic) computing, where each memristor fulfills the function of a synapse in analogy to the human brain.

What’s more

Aside from working on sensors and memory, the research group will also focus on realizing low-power complementary transistor technology (p-type and n-type) on the flexible electronics and BEOL 3D IC hardware platforms to provide all ingredients that could be used in sensor systems. Along those lines, another area of interest is solar energy harvesting with 2D TMDs, a relatively recent technology that allows for ultrathin absorber layers due to their high optical absorption coefficients.



Prof. Alwin Daus
University of Freiburg
Department of Microsystems Engineering – IMTEK
Sensors Laboratory

Kerstin Steiger-Merx
Representative PR/Marketing
Faculty of Engineering
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761/203-8056