The European Best-Reliable Ambient Intelligent Nano Sensor Systems (e-BRAINS) research project will conduct research into the integration of heterogeneous systems using 3D and nanotechnology. Led by Infineon and Fraunhofer Research Institution for Modular Solid State Technologies (Fraunhofer EMFT), the project will run until the end of 2013. Nano-sensors will be combined with other components, such as ICs, power semiconductors, batteries or wireless communication modules, in such a way as to significantly enhance energy efficiency, cost effectiveness, service life and reliability in the operation of e-BRAINS applications.

Vast improvement in the performance of existing applications in fields, such as production monitoring, automotive or medical remote monitoring, can be expected, courtesy of the e-BRAINS research results. The deployment of nanotechnology will allow great improvements in functionality and will open the door to a wide range of applications. Future e-BRAINS applications will require significantly higher integration densities.

The sizes of microelectronic components are continually shrinking in order to reduce energy consumption or achieve higher switching speeds. However, as miniaturization continues its march of progress, the semiconductor industry is increasingly coming up against its physical limits. Growing system complexity is accompanied by higher risk of compromising switching speed. This explains the key role played by the heterogeneous integration of subsystems using 3D technology in which different components are vertically stacked and interconnect length is minimized.

The e-BRAINS project aims at sharpening the competitive edge of European companies by addressing a large variety of applications, such as medical, security and safety. The 19 technology partners of the research project are manufacturers with European production sites, universities and research institutes in Germany, Norway, Austria, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Poland, Belgium and the UK. Infineon is responsible for the overall coordination of the e-BRAINS activities. The total budget is approximately $15.8 M, of which $5.8 M is financed by the partners from industry and research, with the major share, $10 M, funded under the EU's Seventh Framework Program for Research and Technological Development (FP7).