Partners of the Nirvana Project


CEA Leti

LETI is the Laboratory for Electronics & Information Technology operated by Direction de la Recherche Technologique at CEA. Its main mission is to help industrial companies to increase their competitiveness through technological innovation and transfer of its technical know-how. LETI has been working on MEMS components since 1978. It has developed many Microsystems components including mechanical sensors and actuators, optical and magnetic sensors. The total workforce on MEMS activities in Leti is today about 200 permanent researchers, completed by PhD students, which makes Leti ,one of the biggest actor in the world in this particular field.

Project contribution: LETI will bring its technological and design expertise already acquired in the field of sensors using suspended nano-gauges. In addition to process improvement, Leti will contribute significantly to the sensor design and packaging. LETI previous experience in this particular fielhas been already proven through the fabrication of some preliminary technology demonstrators and through various scientific publications. LETI is the overall project coordinator.



PoliMi (Politecnico di Milano) is the most important Italian Technical University since it was established in 1863. With about 38000 students, the University is distributed over 7 main campuses and is renowned for its high standard of education and research in the engineering areas. The Research Group involved in the project belongs to the Department of Electronics and Information Technologies (DEI), one of the largest European ICT departments, both for its dimensions and for the quality of its research. The activity of the Group is centred in the field of microelectronic devices, low noise readout electronics for sensors and development of instrumentation for scientific and biomedical applications.

Project contribution: Within the NIRVANA project, POLIMI plays the major role in the device characterization in terms of performance and reliability. This is a critical issue to provide guidelines for a reliable design of devices, and their trade off with miniaturization. In this context, POLIMI will exploit his six-year experience in the development of characterization equipment and testing methodology for micro and nano devices for inertial measurements. As this role is strictly related to the device design, POLIMI will participate also in the sensor design phase.

Fraunhofer IIS

Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Föderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. is the leading society for Applied Research in Germany performing with contract research with government and industry. Fraunhofer is deeply engaged in process development and design methodology projects for leading edge Nanotechnologies. Its Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits in Erlangen (founded in 1985) is dedicated to the design and application of microelectronic systems. With about 700 staff members and a budget of over 90 million Euros (roughly 55% from contract research with industry) the institute is active in the field of audio and video source coding (MP3), digital broadcasting, wireless communication and sensor networks, imagers and image processing, sensor signal processing and digital and analogue IC-Design.

Project contribution: Fraunhofer IIS plays a prominent role in the development of the signal processing and device integration for the project. Besides the primary MEMS structures the quality of signal acquisition and digital conversion will be a critical part of the total module, defining power consumption and sensitivity of the final product. Fraunhofer IIS brings his experience for high end analogue and mixed signal processing into the project. Fraunhofer IIS cooperates with LETI and POLIMI on the modelling on the sensor interface with STM on the use of the implementation process and with MOVEA and MED-EL on the ASIC interface to applications.

ST Microelectronics

STMicroelectronics is one of the world's largest semiconductor companies with net revenues of US$ 8.51 billion in 2009 and US$7.51 billion in the first nine months of 2010. Offering one of the industry's broadest product portfolios, ST serves customers across the spectrum of electronics applications with innovative semiconductor solutions by leveraging its vast array of technologies, design expertise and combination of intellectual property portfolio, strategic partnerships and manufacturing strength. STM is the leading producer of application-specific analog chips and power conversion devices. It is the #1 supplier of semiconductors for the Industrial market, set-top box applications, and MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) chips for portable and consumer devices, including game controllers and smart phones. The group has approximately 51,000 employees, 15 main manufacturing sites, advanced research and development centers in 10 countries, and sales offices all around the world.

Project contribution: STM is the leader in motion MEMS consumer market. STM has a more than ten year experience in motion MEMS definition, design, fabrication, system in package integration, characterization and reliability evaluation, and more than 40 years experience in ASIC design, fabrication, characterization and reliability evaluation, In this project, it will contribute on sensor and ASIC definition, fabrication of the ASIC, system in package integration, and reliability evaluation of both motion MEMS and system in package (motion MEMS + ASIC).


Over the years, MED-EL's commitment to research has resulted in a number of major milestones. In the last decade, MED-EL worldwide has supported extensive and ongoing research efforts e.g. in the areas of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), bilateral implantation, deep insertion, a traumatic electrode designs, hearing preservation, QuickFit programming paradigms, telephone use, drug delivery, and optical stimulation. MED-EL´s worldwide latest research focuses to achieve improved music appreciation and better speech understanding in difficult listening environments. MED-EL research's and develops novel emerging applications of neuro-rehabilitation in the field of hearing, speech and the vestibular system. MED-EL has experience in the mechatronic, medical and regulatory aspects related to implantable hearing solutions ranging from speech-processing, miniature ultra-low power audio-processor, implant electronics, hermetic housing, power link and signal transmission, stimulation electrodes, sound and vibration sensors as well as vibratory actuators.

Project contribution: Relevant for this project is wide expertise in design requirements, specifications as well as concepts, verification requirements and capabilities for very low power, miniaturised, long-life und patient-reliable implantable medical solutions. MED-EL will contribute to the specifications and design of the gyroscope and accelerometers and such deliver input for the MEMS, ASIC and packaging design in the definition phase and will assess usability for the targeted vestibular and hearing applications within the demonstrators. Special focus is usability, medical and regulatory compliance for implantable applications


MOVEA was created in March 2007 by a team of industry leading researchers and executive management, Movea SA was founded from the French research institute CEA-Leti specializing in motion sensing technologies. Headquartered in Grenoble, France and Pleasanton, California, Movea's objective is industrializing and commercializing innovative motion capture solutions for a variety of market segments: pointing devices, gaming, sports, health. 

Project contribution: Due to its large spectrum of MEMS-based motion features (recognition, detection, estimation, ...) Movea has a good expertise in human motion for many applications. Movea is designing its own electronic board and has a strong experience in signal processing and software development, which are necessary for merging sensors.

April - 2020