Press release

ISIT scientist Dr. Simon Fichtner awarded Hugo Geiger Prize

Every year, the Free State of Bavaria together with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft awards the Hugo Geiger Prize, honoring young scientists for outstanding doctoral achievements in the field of applied research. This year, ISIT scientist Dr. Simon Fichtner received the first prize. The award was presented yesterday by the Bavarian Minister of State for Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy Hubert Aiwanger during the symposium "Netzwert" of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Presentation of the Hugo Geiger Award in Munich (From left to right): Hubert Aiwanger, the award winners Dr. Simon Fichtner, Dr. Annelie Schiller, Dr. Christian Kalupka and the two Fraunhofer board members Andreas Meuer and Prof. Dr. Alexander Kurz
Dr.Simon Fichtner in an interview during the award ceremony
Dr. Simon Fichtner at work at the measuring stand in the research laboratory

A spirit of research, scientific excellence and the pursuit of innovative technologies in applied research - these have been the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft's goals since it was founded in 1949. In this spirit, the Free State of Bavaria and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft annually award the "Hugo Geiger Prize for Young Scientists. Young scientists are honored for outstanding doctoral achievements that have been produced in close cooperation with a Fraunhofer institute. This year's first prize went to Dr. Simon Fichtner. Fichtner carried out his dissertation at Kiel Christian Albrechts University (CAU) - in close connection with Fraunhofer ISIT projects. In his doctoral thesis, Fichtner wanted to improve the performance of the piezoelectric thin-film material aluminum scandium nitride (AIScN). But then he made an astonishing discovery. AIScN has ferroelectric properties. After a voltage is applied, the AIScN crystals change their electrical orientation - their atomic structure is switchable and thus able to store certain states. The ferroelectric components give semiconductor elements in the field of next generation computing an enormous performance boost. The interest of international experts is great. Fraunhofer ISIT has already booked industrial orders for AIScN components amounting to around four million euros. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is supporting follow-up research with 2.3 million euros. The U.S. research agency DARPA has also called for the creation of further projects for research into AIScN.

The other two award-winning projects involve holographic measurement of moving objects on the one hand and glass processing with ultrashort pulse lasers on the other.

This year's award ceremony took place during the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft's "Netzwert" symposium in Munich. The Hugo Geiger Prizes were presented by Bavaria's Deputy Minister President and State Minister for Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy Hubert Aiwanger and by Andreas Meuer, member of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft's Executive Board for Finance and Digitization. The "Netzwert" symposium is the largest internal networking event for all Fraunhofer scientists and thus an ideal forum for the Hugo Geiger Award ceremony. Due to the pandemic, the event was held in a hybrid format.

On the occasion of the award ceremony, Minister of State Hubert Aiwanger said: "The Hugo Geiger Award is intended to highlight how important application-oriented research and the promotion of young scientists are for Bavaria as a business location. In this context, it is important to attract the 'best brains' for innovations. With Fraunhofer, young researchers, especially in Bavaria, have a strong partner at their side."

Prof. Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, said on the occasion of the Hugo Geiger Award ceremony: "Fraunhofer stands for excellent research and innovative solutions. Especially in challenging times, our competencies are more in demand than ever to find sustainable answers, for the benefit of society and to strengthen the German and European economy. In this sense, I am particularly pleased to award the Hugo Geiger Prize today to three young researchers who, with their excellent doctoral achievements, have impressively demonstrated their creative potential to find innovative answers to current demand- and problem-oriented issues, in line with our mission statement."



A podcast of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Podcast on the Hugo-Geiger-Prize with Simon Fichtner