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Zentrum Mikroelektronik Dresden
FateAcquired by IDT
FoundedAugust 1, 1961; 58 years ago (1961-08-01)
FounderWerner Hartmann
DefunctDecember 7, 2015 (2015-12-07)

Zentrum Mikroelektronik Dresden was regarded as the heart of East Germany's microelectronics research in the 1980s as well as its most advanced integrated circuit manufacturer.

1961: Arbeitsstelle für Molekularelektronik (AME)[edit]

The company was founded in 1961 in Dresden under the leadership of Werner Hartmann as a research institute with the goal of developing technologies for manufacturing integrated circuits, following the seminal patents by Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce two years earlier.[1] Initially, it was named Arbeitsstelle für Molekularelektronik (Department of Molecular Electronics) and reported to the government's Office of Nuclear Research and Technology. In 1965 the instute was moved to the combine VVB Bauelemente und Vakuumtechnik which was responsible for manufacturing almost all electronic components in East Germany at the time. The researchers manufactured their first p–n junction in 1966, their first fully working bipolar junction transistor in 1967, and their first integrated circuit C10 (a four-input NAND gate with 7 transistors) in a 20 µm process and with a yield of 16% in April 1968.[1] Later that year in September the test chip C30 (two four-input NAND gates, 14 transisotrs, equivalent to the 7400 series 7420, 10 µm process) achieved a yield of 30%.[1] Under the designation D120C this design was later transferred for volume production to Halbleiterwerk Frankfurt (Oder) and publicly announced at the Leipzig Trade Fair in the spring of 1971, together with subsequent chips in the 7400 and 74H00 series.[2]

1969: Arbeitsstelle für Molekularelektronik Dresden (AMD)[edit]

Integrated circuit D200C (equivalent to 74H00), manufactured by AMD in August 1970

In 1969 the institute was renamed to Arbeitsstelle für Molekularelektronik Dresden (AMD).[3] This should not be confused with the other, unrelated AMD which was also founded in 1969 and under the name AMD Saxony operated in Dresden from 1996 until 2009 when that plant became part of GlobalFoundries.[4]

In 1973, AMD produced the first working samples of the PMOS integrated circuit U820D for electronic calculators (6000 transistors, 6 µm process).[1] By 1974, AMD had grown to 950 employees.[1] Prof. Hartmann, who had led the institute since 1961, was forced to leave by the Ministry for State Security in 1974.[1]

1976: Institut für Mikroelektronik Dresden (IMD)[edit]

Integrated circuit with the IMD logo

The name of the institute changed again in 1976, this time to Institut für Mikroelektronik Dresden (IMD).[3] In 1978, VVB Bauelemente und Vakuumtechnik was split into VEB Kombinat Elektronische Bauelemente Teltow for passive electronic components and VEB Kombinat Mikroelektronik Erfurt for active electronic components, IMD becoming a part of Kombinat Mikrolektronik Erfurt.

1980: VEB Zentrum für Forschung und Technologie Mikroelektronik (ZFTM)[edit]

By combining Institut für Mikroelektronik with VEB Elektromat Dresden (producer of semiconductor manufacturing equipment) in 1980, ZFTM was formed.[3] In 1986, ZFTM was moved from Kombinat Mikroelektronik Erfurt to the East German optics and technology combine Kombinat Carl Zeiss Jena.

1987: VEB Forschungszentrum Mikroelektronik Dresden (ZMD)[edit]

ZMD produced the GDR's first 1-megabyte DRAM U61000 in 1988. However, serial production was not achieved by 1990.

1993: Zentrum Mikroelektronik Dresden GmbH (ZMD)[edit]

ZMD GmbH was founded in 1993.

2000: Zentrum Mikroelektronik Dresden AG (ZMD/ZMDI)[edit]

With the sale of its foundry to X-FAB Semiconductor Foundries AG in 2007, ZMD became a fabless semiconductor company.[5] In December 2001 the company became an "AG".

Since May 2009, ZMD AG uses the logo ZMDI; the company name still is Zentrum Mikroelektronik Dresden.

Today, the company has about 320 employees, of which around 150 are engineers working mainly in product development. ZMDI innovations are used in automotive and industrial electronics, medical technology and for infrared interfaces (IrDA), for example in mobile phones and laptops. The company has successfully specialized in the design, production and marketing of heavy duty, mixed analogue-digital, application-specific circuits (ASICs) and application-specific standard products (ASSPs) with low energy consumption. As a result, ZMDI has accelerated the development of the most modern mixed-signal systems on chip (SoC). The main focus of these developments is applications for the automobile sector: ZMDI has maintained a leading position in this area for several years, now and aims to be market leader for automotive sensor systems on chip for “x by wire" applications.

The company's headquarters are in Dresden, Germany. ZMDI runs sales operations in the U.S. with offices in Milpitas, California, in Stuttgart and Dresden. It has design centers in the USA, Limerick,Ireland and also in Dresden, Stuttgart and Varna, Bulgaria.

In December 2015 ZMDI was acquired by IDT.[6]

Silicon Saxony[edit]

ZMDI is said to be the cradle of the Saxon microelectronics industry and is a founder of the largest European semiconductors cluster, “Silicon Saxony”, which was founded in 2000. ZMDI's CEO and President is Thilo von Selchow.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hans W. Becker (1990). "Prof. Werner Hartmann". Radio Fernsehen Elektronik (in German). VEB Verlag Technik. 39 (10): 648–650. ISSN 0033-7900.
  2. ^ "Bericht von der Leipziger Frühjahrsmesse 1971 - Bauelemente" [Report from the Leipzig Spring Fair 1971 - Components]. Radio Fernsehen Elektronik (in German). Berlin: VEB Verlag Technik. 20 (10): 309–311. 1971. ISSN 0033-7900.
  3. ^ a b c Berkner, Jörg (2016-04-12). "Die Halbleiterindustrie in der DDR" [The semiconductor industry in the GDR] (in German). Hüthig GmbH. Retrieved 2019-10-27.
  4. ^ "AMD in Dresden" (in German). 2007. Archived from the original on 2009-01-19. Retrieved 2019-10-27.
  5. ^ "ZMD Goes Fabless as X-FAB Acquires ZFOUNDRY". Business Wire. 2007-03-29. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  6. ^ "IDT Completes Acquisition of ZMDI". IDT. 2015-12-07. Retrieved 2017-11-14.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°07′32″N 13°47′06″E / 51.12556°N 13.78500°E / 51.12556; 13.78500