Invented in Aachen: Boosting the Region's Reputation for Innovation


Three University projects receive the 2020 Innovation Award.


Presented annually, the award recognizes university projects that contribute to the standing of the Aachen region as a hub of innovation. During the RWTHtransparent event on January 31, the award was presented for the sixth time. Team µKARIA, who have developed a rapid test to assess an individual’s risk of calcification, and Team U-PCM, with their project on “Ultrasonic Accelerated Phase-Change Memory,” were announced as joint winners of the Innovation Award. Team Qutech won third place for their research on a “Quantum Bus for Semiconductor Quantum Computers.”

RWTH Innovation GmbH supports the award and assists with the evaluation of entries. The submitted ideas are evaluated according to criteria of technology advancement, innovation potential, customer benefit, potential for further development, commercial potential, and overall impression.

  µKARIA team members looking into the camera. Copyright: Heike Lachmann Team µKARIA is presented with RWTH's Innovation Award at the RWTHtransparent event.

Rapid Test to Assess Risk of Calcification

With increasing age, people can develop calcium deposits in the body which may lead to life-threatening complications. The newly developed test kit uses a disposable chip to measure an individuals risk of calcification in a period of less than ten minutes. This enables the so-called T50 value to be determined directly at the bedside or in the doctor's practice. So far, this test is unique, which is why the company is aiming for a market share of up to 100 percent. In addition to Julia Bavendiek, Dr. Philipp Maurer and Professor Werner Karl Schomburg from the Department of Design and Development of Microsystems, Steffen Gräber, Dr. Andreas Pasch and Professor Wilhelm Jahnen-Dechent from the Helmholtz Institute for Biomedical Engineering – Cell and Molecular Biology were involved in the project.

  U-PCM team members looking into the camera Copyright: Heike Lachmann Team U-PCM is presented with the 2020 Innovation Award.

Ultrasonic Accelerated Phase-Change Memory

The research team strives to develop storage devices that are up to a hundred times faster than current phase-change memory devices and more energy efficient for data storage and calculation. Yudong Cheng, Julian Pries, Professor Matthias Wuttig, and Dr. Shuai Wei from the Institute of Physics I A, Xiaoling Lu from the Institute of Materials in Electrical Engineering 1 (IWE1) as well as Dr. Ulrich Böttger and Jan Lübben from the Institute of Materials in Electrical Engineering 2 are involved in the project.

  QuTech team members are looking into the camera. Copyright: Heike Lachmann Team QuTech wins third place in RWTH's Innovation Award competition.

Quantum Bus for a Scalable Semiconductor Quantum Computer

In science and research, there are relevant types of problem that would take today's most powerful supercomputers thousands of years to solve. Even with a significant increase in computing power, simulations of medicines, for example, are not feasible using conventional computers. Quantum computers, which promise much faster speeds current classical counterparts, are expected to provide a solution to this problem.

The JARA Institute for Quantum Information is currently developing a platform for a universal quantum computer based on spin qubits that is compatible with existing semiconductor technologies. A particular technological problem that needs to be solved is to gain control over the coupling between qubits. Professor Hendrik Bluhm, Matthias Künne, Dr. Lars Schreiber and Inga Seidler have developed an architectural element with which to solve this problem. The technology is currently being patented and a spin-off company is being established.