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Electrical Engineering and Information Technology

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On this page we present current contributions to research in electrical engineering and information technology

Otto Junker Awards 2022


Image: Ryan Benkert, Daniel Fallnich, Josefin Wilkes and Tomasz Engelmann (front, from left) were awarded the Otto Junker Prize. Wolfgang Bleck, Ulrich Rüdiger, Marianne Conradt and Udo vom Berg congratulated the winners (back, from left).
Photo: Andreas Schmitter

Awarded for outstanding academic achievements

Ryan Benkert, Tomasz Engelmann, Daniel Fallnich and Josefin Wilkes received the 2022 Otto Junker Prize for their outstanding academic achievements. The Otto Junker Prize is conferred annually to RWTH students from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology and the Materials Science and Engineering Division of the Faculty of Georesources and Materials Engineering.

The Otto Junker Foundation was founded in 1970 by Dr.-Ing. E.h. Otto Junker. As a former RWTH, he felt intimately connected to the University throughout his life and particularly valued the scientific exchange. The aim of the foundation is to support young scientists and to promote numerous individual projects. Udo vom Berg, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Otto Junker GmbH, and RWTH Rector Ulrich Rüdiger presented the awards at a ceremony. Professor Wolfgang Bleck, Chairman of the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board, and District Mayor Marianne Conradt congratulated the winners.

Ryan Benkert was born in January 1997 and did his Abitur in Gilching. He then studied electrical engineering, information technology and computer engineering at the RWTH and completed his master’s degree with a grade of 1.0. The master’s thesis with the topic “Out-of-Distribution Detection for Unsupervised Perception Systems” was written at the Chair for Integrated Systems of Signal Processing under the direction of Professor Gerd Ascheid. During his studies, he completed a stay at the Georgia Institute of Technology, funded by the Deutschlandstipendium and a Georgia Tech scholarship. He also completed three internships in the US, one of which was in Cupertino at Apple. Benkert is currently receiving his doctorate at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, USA.

Daniel Fallnich, born in 1996, comes from Hanover and completed a voluntary science year in the field of production technology after leaving school. He then studied electrical engineering and information technology at the University of Hanover in the bachelor’s program. He switched to the RWTH for his master’s degree and studied electrical engineering, information technology and computer engineering. Here he was on Dean’s list of the best students. Fallnich also completed a six-month course at the TU Delft in the Department of Quantum and Computer Engineering. The master’s thesis with the topic “Design of a Hardware Architecture for the Niederreiter Cryptosystem” was written at the Chair for Integrated Digital Systems and Circuit Design under the direction of Professor Tobias Gemmeke. Fallnich is currently working at IBM in Böblingen.

Friedrich Wilhelm Awards 2022

RWTH Rector Ulrich Rüdiger honored 17 outstanding graduates of RWTH Aachen University with the Friedrich Wilhelm Awards 2022.
Photo: Andreas Schmitter

Honoring outstanding achievements by RWTH Aachen graduates

The Friedrich Wilhelm Prize is awarded annually by the foundation of the same name in the form of prize money to students and researchers at RWTH Aachen University who have been selected for their outstanding achiements in their theses. Among this years recipients are Maxim Christian Maria Müllender, Master of Science, from the Institute of High Voltage Equipment and Grids, Digitalization and Energy Economics and Laurids Schmitz, Master of Science, from the Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives. Both winners were recognized due to their excellent masters theses.

Funding for research and teaching

The name of the foundation goes back to the Prussian crown prince and later Emperor Friedrich Wilhelm III., who founded a polytechnic institute in the Rhine province in 1858 using a donation from the Aachen and Munich fire insurance companies. In doing so, he laid the foundation for both the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule and the Friedrich Wilhelm Foundation, which is founded 1865 by the legal predecessor of todays Aachener und Münchener Beteiligungsgesellschaft. Since then, the promotion of research and teaching and the support of students and researchers at the RWTH Aachen have been the central concerns of the foundation.

“ELMAR” project: The ISEA is part of it!

The objective of the ELMAR project is to integrate the use of electric heavy mining machinery in the domestic extractive industry and demonstrate its utility.

A secure supply of mineral raw materials is essential for the competitiveness and prosperity of Germany and Europe. At the same time, raw material extraction results in substantial carbon dioxide emissions and therefore needs to become more sustainable in order to help achieve climate targets and to remain competitive. This includes, in particular, the decarbonization of operations that extract raw material. In Germany, this affects around 1,600 companies with around 2,700 plants and 23,500 employees in gravel, sand, and natural stone production alone.

Up to now, a significant proportion of the energy used in the extraction of raw materials at these plants has been used for internal transport. And most of this energy is being consumed by mobile diesel-powered (heavy-duty) vehicles. Conversion to (battery) electric operation is therefore a key lever for reducing emissions in this sector. This applies to the retrofitting of existing companies as well as to future projects.

 

Decarbonization of Domestic Raw Material Extraction – A Holistic Approach

In the newly launched ELMAR project, a consortium of research and industry partners is investigating how the decarbonization of the raw materials sector can be achieved and implemented in a holistic approach. The project involves the deployment of autonomous electric heavy-duty electric mine transport systems, the adaptation of the infrastructure this requires, and the redesign of operational processes. In addition, the project seeks to optimize the matching of energy demand and energy supply with the help of a connected, model-based and intelligent operational management.

ELMAR lays an important foundation for the integration of electric automated mobile heavy-duty transport machines in raw material extraction,” says Dr. Tobias Hartmann of the Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies at RWTH Aachen University. “Maintaining process reliability in extraction while ensuring security of electrical supply, as well as coupling it to renewable energy sources, we want to demonstrate in representative application scenarios that electrical transport is possible in domestic resource extraction. The holistic approach taking production, energy demand and energy supply aspects int account makes it possible to optimize existing and upcoming operating concepts.”

The consortium consists of two RWTH institutes, the Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies (AMT) and the Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives (ISEA), and industry partners. Volvo Group Trucks Central Europe GmbH, Volvo Construction Equipment Germany GmbH, and Volvo Autonomous Solutions AB (commissioned by VCE Germany GmbH), are participating as construction equipment and transport vehicle manufacturers and automation providers. Other partners include mine operators Mineral Baustoffe GmbH (part of the STRABAG Group), Knauf Gips KG, and Nivelsteiner Sandwerke & Sandsteinbrüche GmbH; AI and cloud-based software providers PSI Fuzzy Logik & Neuro Systeme GmbH and PSI Software AG; and TITUS Research GmbH as a developer of autonomous monitoring systems.

The ELMAR project is scheduled to run until the end of July 2025 and receives around 6 million euros from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMKW) as part of the “Research and Development in the Field of Electromobility” funding initiative.The total project volume is around 11 million euros.

 

Contact:

Dr.-Ing. Tobias Hartmann
Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies (AMT)
Telefon: +49 241 80 90755
E-Mail: thartmann@amt.rwth-aachen.de
www.amt.rwth-aachen.de/

 

Source: University News

German Study Award of the Körber Foundation 2022: 2nd Prize Goes to Weihan Li from ISEA

Portrait von Dr. Weihan Li

© David Ausserhofer: Dr. Weihan Li

Dr. Weihan Li has been awarded the second German Study Prize of the Körber Foundation for his dissertation.

Every year, the foundation awards the German Study Award to the best doctoral students from all disciplines. The main focus here is on the social significance of the research. We congratulate Dr. Weihan Li from the Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives for his outstanding achievement.

Abstract:
Machine learning for efficient battery use in mobility and energy supply for sustainable climate protection
In the fight against climate change, batteries play a crucial role as a flexible energy storage system for renewable energies. However, battery ageing during use is proving to be the limiting factor for an efficient and reliable future energy system. In this work, machine learning enables online ageing diagnosis, prediction of future ageing progression and optimisation of operation strategy, which not only increases battery performance and lifetime, but also reduces unexpected failures and contributes to more transparency about battery health. The methodology developed improves battery use in mobile and stationary applications, enabling safer and longer-lasting operation, which saves costs in the long term, conserves resources and is socially feasible. This work thus provides an essential building block for the broad acceptance and implementation of climate-friendly mobility and energy supply on the way to a climate-neutral energy system.

We would also like to congratulate Dr. Lars Nolting from the Chair of Energy System Economics at RWTH Aachen University on winning the first prize, as well as all the other prize winners:
Dr. Manuel Häußler from the University of Konstanz, Dr. Kim Teppe from the University of Hamburg, Dr. Julia Böcker from the University of Lüneburg, Dr. Mareike Trauernicht from the Free University of Berlin and Dr. Felix Lansing from the Technical University of Dresden.

For more information on the German Study Award 2022, please see the press release of the Körber Foundation.

Professor Antonello Monti Receives NRW Innovation Award

Portrait von Professor Monti

© Peter Winandy

Professor Antonello Monti is not only the holder of the Chair of Automation of Complex Power Systems, but since the end of May 2022 he has also been the winner of the Innovation Award of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia. Awards were made in the categories “Honorary Award”, “Young Researchers” and “Innovation”, with Professor Monti being honoured in the “Innovation” category. This innovation prize is endowed with 100,000 € and is thus only second to the Future Prize of the Federal President in Germany.

With the award, the federal state recognises excellent research with particular social significance, scientific potential and relevance in application. In the case of Professor Antonello Monti, it is pioneering work in the digitalisation of power systems , which has great relevance for the energy transition.

In detail, it is a new concept for the automation of modern energy networks, which is based on modern IT solutions and enables a modular approach. The development as open source supports the cooperation of all participants and the creation of an open ecosystem.

The award was presented by the Minister President of NRW, Hendrik Wüst, and Professor Andreas Pinkwart, the NRW Minister for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy.

For more details, see the official RWTH press article.

New Publication by Professor Lemme and Colleagues

Portrait von Prof. Lemme

Portrait of Prof. Lemme (© JRF)

Healing Achilles heel of two-dimensional transistors

Stability – in the sense of stable operation thorough lifetime – is one of the key characteristics that an electronic device need to present to be suitable for applications. And it is the Achilles heel of transistors based on two-dimensional materials, which typically show much worse stability than devices based on silicon. A team of researchers from TU Wien, AMO GmbH, RWTH Aachen University and Wuppertal University has now demonstrated a novel engineering approach to enhance the electrical stability of two-dimensional transistors by carefully tuning the Fermi energy. The results have been reported in Nature Electronics.

Today, there is little doubt that devices based on graphene and other two-dimensional (2D) materials can exceed the state of the art for certain applications, thanks to their intrinsic properties. Two-dimensional materials are also seen as some of the most promising candidates for realizing ultimately scaled transistors at the end of the roadmap of silicon technology.  However, devices based on 2D materials often show poor electrical stability, meaning that their behavior changes depending on their operation history.

“Component reliability is one aspect that is often neglected in research. This is precisely where we have been working for several years, because it is of central importance for applications.” explains Professor Max Lemme, scientific director of AMO GmbH and Head of the Chair of Electronic Devices at RWTH. The instability is not only caused by 2D materials themselves, but mostly by charges trapped into the oxide-insulator used to fabricate the transistors. “Ideally, one would like to use a different insulator with fewer charge traps,” says Lemme, “but there are no scalable solutions for this yet. In our work, we have shown instead that it is possible to use a standard insulator such as aluminum oxide and to significantly suppress the adverse effects of the charge traps in the oxide, by adjusting the charge carrier density in the 2D material.”

Mikrochip

© Martin Braun

The work combines a thorough theoretical analysis of the novel approach – dubbed by the authors ‘stability-based design’ – and a proof of principle demonstration of the concept, performed by measuring different types of graphene-based FETs. The key idea of the approach is to try to engineer the combination 2D-material/insulator in such a way that the energy of the charge traps in the insulator is as different as possible from the one of the charge carriers in the 2D material. Lemme explains: “Graphene based FETs were the ideal test bed for our approach, as it is relatively easy to tune the energy of charge carriers in graphene. The approach, however, is applicable to all FETs based on 2D semiconductors”.  These results represent a major step forward towards stable and reliable 2D materials transistors to be integrated in semiconductor technology.

Bibliographic information:
T. Knobloch, B. Uzlu, Y. Yu. I.llarionov, Z. Wang, M. Otto, L. Filipovic, M. Waltl, D. Neumaier, M. C. Lemme, T. Grasser, Improving stability in two-dimensional transistors with amorphous gate oxides by Fermi-level tuning, Nature Electronics (2022) – Open Access
DOI: 10.1038/s41928-022-00768-0

 

Contact:
Prof. Max C. Lemme
AMO GmbH
lemme@amo.de

Review of the 150th anniversary exhibition of the RWTH

From October 30, 2021 to February 13, 2022, the 150th anniversary exhibition of the RWTH took place at the Centre de Charlemagne in Aachen. ISEA – the Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives – also contributed with some exhibits to illustrate the highlights from research and the development of RWTH since its foundation in October 1870.
For all those who could not be there and see this wonderful exhibition for themselves, we have a short review.

Among others, the IKS was also involved. The project “Virtual visit” dealt with the 3D telephony of the future: Who hasn’t had the wish to beam to the other side while talking on the phone?  At least via audio, this would be possible in the future; for example, one could already sit virtually in the middle of a concert of the Aachen Symphony Orchestra.
Prof. Dr. Peter Jax presented the state of the art as well as current research topics in his lecture and invited to an exciting discussion afterwards.
It was very interesting to get to know a current research project of the IKS and to experience the research live.


The content of the lecture was further illustrated in the exhibition by virtually sitting in the middle of the concert of the Aachen Symphony Orchestra. The aim was to perceive the sound in 3 dimensions. To experience this phenomenon, all one had to do was put on a pair of virtual reality glasses and enjoy the sounds of the Aachen Symphony Orchestra.

It was particularly fascinating to be able to hear the sounds from all directions and at the same time to be able to identify the direction from which they came. It was easy to follow the sounds more closely by turning around to look at them with the glasses. It was really a great insight into the research of the IKS.

The Future of Networking

Professor Dr. Haris Gačanin, head of the Chair for Distributed Signal Processing and co-director of the Institute of Communication Technologies and Embedded Systems, presented the research activities of the 6GEM Research Hub at the Thinknet 6G Summit. The Thinknet 6G Summit is an international conference focused on the next generation of communication networks.
As digitalization progresses, mobile communications communication takes on the crucial role of providing the communication infrastructure for society as a whole. The current generation of mobile communication, 5G, is the first to shift focus away from individual end-user communications to industrial applications (Industry 4.0), logistics, transportation and eHealth. The subsequent generation, 6G, is expected to further expand network capacity and speed to enable applications with significantly higher connectivity requirements, such as fully autonomous driving.
In this regard, the 6GEM Research Hub is focusing more on the practical impact that 6G will have on our society. After all, this advanced infrastructure must provide adaptive and resilient communication systemss for a wide range of requirements and applications for the benefit of humanity.

Rayleigh Medal für Professor Michael Vorländer/ Rayleigh Medal for Professor Michael Vorländer

The Institute of Hearing Technology and Acoustics is proud to announce that Professor Michael Vorländer has recently been awarded the prestigious Rayleigh Medal, the highest award of the Institute of Acoustics. Therefore, we from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology also say, congratulations!

The Rayleigh Medal is the highest award of the Institute of Acoustics and is given without regard to age to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to acoustics. The medal is named for John William Strutt, Third Baron Rayleigh (1842-1919), a highly versatile physicist who conducted both experimental and theoretical research in virtually all areas of the field. His book The Theory of Sound remains a landmark in the development of acoustics.

With this award, Michael joins a list of very well-known acousticians such as Manfred Schröder, Hugo Fastl, Leo Beranek, and his predecessor Heinrich Kuttruff who have also been awarded this medal.