With regard to research and development activities in the sector of microsystems technology and nanotechnologies, Baden-Wuerttemberg occupies a leading position in the German market. As key technologies, the microsystems and nanotechnologies are playing a central role for automotive parts suppliers and sectors like the innovative production technology, information and communication technology as well as the medical technology.
Microsystems technologies are applied in the automobile industry, mechanical engineering, the medical technology sector as well as in the measurement and control technology - for example as sensors for driver assistance systems for cars or as miniaturized analytical laboratories for emergency interventions. Driven by the trend of increasing miniaturization of technological products, nanotechnologies have become indispensable for the microsystems technology and many other fields of application.
The microsystems technology industry is characterized by a particularly large share of highly-specialized small and medium-sized companies operating in different user branches. Besides SMEs such as 2E mechatronic and Biofluidix, large firms like the Robert Bosch GmbH, the Roche Diagnostics GmbH, Festo AG and the Sick AG are based in the microsystems technology sector as well. The Car Zeiss AG is the worldwide leader in the manufacturing of optics for nano-structured computer chips. The federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg is in the lead as regards research and development of microsystems and nanotechnologies in Germany. The Institute for Microsystems Technology (IMTEK) at the University of Freiburg, whose 21 professorships are covering all relevant fields of this discipline, enjoys an international reputation as renowned research institute in that sector. This applies also to the KIT NanoMicro Centre of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology having more than 800 employees. Moreover, the association Microsystems Technology Baden-Wuerttemberg e.V. (MST BW) acts as an interface between science and economy and manages the excellence cluster MicroTEC Southwest.
In general, the microsystems and nanotechnologies industry is considered one of the most important drivers for innovation with respect to technical applications. Hereby, future research and development activities will focus on computerization, molecularisation and miniaturization.