News articles

Siegfried Selberherr selected by the European Research Council (ERC) in its second competition for "Advanced Grants"

Siegfried Selberherr, a professor at the Institute for Microelectronics at TU Wien, is the first Austrian engineer to be awarded the "Advanced Grant" by the ERC (European Research Council). This prestigious award has a value of 1.7 million euros.

Professor Siegfried Selberherr

Professor Siegfried Selberherr

Professor Selberherr intends to use the funding to progress his visionary research in the field of microelectronics and make available new effects, particularly spin. The breathtaking increase in the performance of microelectronic circuits, known as chips, has been made possible in recent decades by the ceaselessly progressing miniaturisation of their components. Today's microprocessor chip consists of several hundred million components, produced with structural sizes in the region of several nanometres - which is around 1000 times thinner than a human hair. Every PC, every laptop and every mobile phone requires one of these chips.

The continued miniaturisation of components is gradually becoming more and more difficult and the increasing technological challenges, as well as soaring costs, indicate that this will come to an end. As a result, there are foreseeable limitations for future increases in performance and research using alternative technologies and computational principles are becoming increasingly important.

Siegfried Selberherr is now investigating the spin of electrons to use as an alternative to the charge degree of freedom for computations and non-volatile memory applications. Silicon, as a key material in microelectronics, has a negligible spin-orbit interaction, no core spin and should demonstrate a long spin coherence time. Together with a potentially simple integration into CMOS technology, a long spin coherence is ideal for spin-supported applications, as has recently been confirmed by impressive demonstrations of injection, coherent distribution and identification of spin. The skilful use of computer-assisted design tools for dealing with relevant technological issues has made an outstanding contribution to the success of microelectronics technology; though this support is completely lacking for spin applications. The specific aim of the research undertaken by Professor Selberherr and his team is to create, investigate and implement a computer-supported analysis environment for spin-based components.

ERC grant facts

With the Advanced Investigator Grants, the ERC has established a funding pool aimed at established scientists. This resource is intended to encourage exceptionally successful researchers to undertake ambitious projects of an interdisciplinary nature. A total of six Austrian citizens have been awarded an Advanced Grant, just four of them undertaking their research in Austria. Three foreign researchers working in Austria have also been awarded an Advanced Grant.

About Siegfried Selberherr

Siegfried Selberherr (54) has been a full professor in the software technology of microelectronic systems at TU Wien since 1988. He studied electrical engineering at TU Wien, receiving his engineering degree in 1978, his doctorate in technical science in 1981 and his post-doctoral lecturing qualification in 1984. He then spent some time as a visiting researcher at the famous Bell Laboratories in the USA. From 1998-2005, he held the position of Dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. Since 2001, he has been a member of the supervisory board of the Austrian company austriamicrosystems. Since 2004, he has been a member – and since January 2008, Chairman – of the inter-university advisory committee of the Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology, a department of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Tulln.

TU Wien Professor Selberherr has a number of accolades to his name, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Niš, the Grand Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria and the Exner medal awarded by the Austrian Trade and Industry Association.  He is a member of the European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Humanities and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) – only seven other Austrians have been awarded this elite status.

Selberherr has also received the Dr. Ernst Fehrer Award (1983), the award of the "Nachrichtentechnischen Gesellschaft" (VDE, 1985), the "Dr. Herta Firnberg-Staatspreis" (1986), the "Heinz Zemanek" award (Austrian Computer Society, 1987), the "Honorary Prize for Science" (State of Lower Austria, 1999) and the "Erwin Schrödinger Prize" (Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2001).


O.Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Dr.h.c. Siegfried Selberherr
TU Wien
Faculty of Electrotechnical Engineering and Information Technology
Institute for Microelectronics
Gußhausstr. 25-27/E360, 1040 Vienna
Phone: +43 1 58801 36010
Mobile: +43 664 534 41 15
Fax: +43 1 58801 36099


TU Wien - Büro für Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
Bettina Neunteufl, MAS
Operngasse 11/E011, 1040 Wien
Phone: +43 1 58801 41025
Fax: +43 1 58801 41093