Seven partners from the German business and research communities are teaming up in the three-year RELY research project to explore ways of enhancing the quality, reliability and resilience of modern microelectronic systems. The focus will be on applications in transportation, medical technology and automation – sectors where microelectronics is expected to play a far more prominent role in coming years.

The RELY project, which sets out to design new development processes for tomorrow's microelectronic systems and to integrate new reliability and safety criteria, is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with €7.4 M under the Information and Communications Technology 2020 programme. The team members, alongside project leader Infineon Technologies AG, are EADS Deutschland GmbH, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, MunEDA GmbH, X-FAB Semiconductor Foundries AG, the Technical University of Munich and the University of Bremen.

The RELY project, which is part of the European CATRENE project of the same name, aims to lay the foundations for establishing reliability as a new target parameter throughout the chip development process. So far, optimization has been levelled primarily at area, performance and energy consumption. In the course of the research, the partners will seek to develop novel chip architectures that will allow a chip to automatically determine its operating status, react to it and even enter into interaction with the electronic system. In the future, such a self-test function of the chip could permit a timely alert of possible signs of wear in electronic systems.