National activities

In Germany up to now there are few contacts between nanotechnology

, , ™ In the German space and the space community. The past efforts for the miniaturization of r j r community nanotechnolo-

space systems and components should be assigned to the micro system gy is regarded rather as technology. The micro system technology (MST) meanwhile has subordinated topic of achieved a high market readiness and the worldmarket volume of MST microsystem technology products is estimated at approx. 40 bn $ according to a market study carried out in the year 2002 (NEXUS 2002).

The main application ranges of MST are information technology, biomedicine, automotive manufacturing and telecommunications. Space only represents a niche market for the MST due to the small quantities. Nevertheless intensified efforts for utilizing MST for space technology are made within the space community. Main objectives in this context are

RAMSES study of DARA in the mid 90's

Some connections to space applications in the frame of BMBF funded nanotechnology projects possible savings of weight and power consumption as well as a higher functionality. In Germany, activities in this field have been registered since the mid 90's, e.g. in the frame of the RAMES study of the DARA (DARA 1995), which examined and evaluated micro system technologies for the miniaturization of individual satellite modules as well as the application potential of nanosatellites. The RAMSES study however dealt only in a few aspects with Nanotechnology, e.g. the development of acceleration sensors based on nanoscale tunneling tips.14 In the frame of the activities of the DLR research institutes, nano-technology is pursued so far rather in single aspects than systematically. Although meanwhile four DLR institutes have become members of the network of nanotechnology competence centers, concrete nanotechnology projects are rare. As examples for nanotechnology activities of DLR institutes the characterisation of ultra-precise surfaces under space conditions can be mentioned (project SESAM of the DLR Institute of Flight Guidance in Braunschweig, see section 5.6.2) as well as the application of nanomaterials and nanolayers for space technology (e.g. the development of nanostructured layers for heat-insulating in rocket engines, see section 5.3.2, or the use of aerogels as mould material for the investigation of solidification processes in metallic alloys15). Beyond that, some connecting points exist in the framework of nanotechnology projects funded by the BMBF (e.g. within the ranges quantum dot solar cells16, quantum dot IR detectors or supercaps 17). The Bavarian research foundation supports a joint project for the development of ceramic nanocomposites for high temperature rocket engines with participation of Astrium, further space companies and some nanotechnology research institutes. Furthermore, nanotechnology is promoted as a topic in the frame of the DLR activities relating to the (industry-close) utilization of the international space station. In this context a workshop was organized by the DLR in the year 2000, where both the use of the international space station as a research instrument for nanotechnology as well as applications of nanotechnology for space technology were discussed (DLR 2000). Also in the context of the ISS forum from 7. June 2001 in Berlin, nanotechnology was a topic.

14 see RAMSES-Study, p.2.1-15 (DARA 1995)

15 DLR Institute for Space Simulation, ( web_dt/aerocast_dt.html)

16 BMBF-Project: „Self-organized growth of Si/Ge Islands on Si for high efficient solar cells" BMBF-FKZ 13N7869

17 BMBF-Project: „Nanostructured thin layer electrodes for advanced supercaps", BMBF-FKZ 03N3076A/2

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