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Perfection is Achieved When Nothing Can Be Omitted

Dr. Jörg Frömel was appointed to the position of associate professor at the Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan – how he accomplished so much and what the TU Chemnitz had to do with it

  • Dr. Jörg Frömel loads a magnetron sputtering device with a sample. Photo: Florian Kurth

Jörg Frömel decided in 1996 to study electrical engineering at the TU Chemnitz. At that time he surely never expected that he would one day make his way to Japan. However, when he began his studies, he also began to lay the foundation for his later career. “Studying at the TU was important for me and my career. During my studies, I was able to acquire not only the technical basis for my current work, but also became familiar with the fundamentals of how scientists operate,” he reports. But the microsystems engineering student didn’t just feel well-counselled in technical matters at the TU Chemnitz: “As a student, I really enjoyed the fact that there was always a contact person available and the courses were not hopelessly overfilled.”

After successfully completing his studies, his career path led him to the Chemnitz branch of the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM (later Fraunhofer Institute for Electronic Nanosystems ENAS) as a research associate. After completing his doctorate, it was finally time: Dr. Frömel was appointed to the position of associate professor at the Tohoku University in Japan. So, he traveled 8,800 kilometers from Chemnitz to Sendai. “I am employed there at the Advanced Institute for Material Research. I’m working on developing so-called microminiaturized acoustic actuators – they are mini loudspeakers which can be used in smartphones, for example,” explains Dr. Frömel about his field of work. “My current goal is to attain a smaller size and lower manufacturing cost as well as increase the energy efficiency of the components.” Another area of research for Dr. Frömel in Japan is thermoelectric as well as electrodynamic in nature. At this time, he is working together with colleagues and students to allow battery-powered devices to work for a longer time before it is necessary to recharge them. Dr. Frömel’s research and development operates according to a very special motto: “I research according to the mission statement, ‘Perfection is achieved not when you can’t add anything else, but rather when you can’t leave anything out’. In my opinion, this saying fits the range of tasks in engineering perfectly.”

What does Dr. Frömel hope to accomplish in his new home country of Japan? “First and foremost, I am concentrating on fulfilling my role as leader of the Fraunhofer Project Center in Sendai. Beyond that, I would like to create an enduring research presence for Fraunhofer in Japan with the support of my colleagues and maintain and develop contacts with the local industry.” Although a new and exciting chapter in his life as begun, Dr. Frömel has never lost sight of his contact to the TU Chemnitz. “I still have many friends and former colleagues at the TU, with whom I regularly stay in contact to share experiences.”

(Author: Sabrina Schäfer, Translation: Sarah Wilson)

Katharina Thehos

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