Director Hajime Okumura
The Advanced Power Electronics Research Center was established on
April 1, 2010 with the mission of establishing high-performance power conversion
technologies, and we promote research on power devices that make use of
wide-bandgap semiconductors and their applications in equipment.
The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
(AIST) began studies on wide-bandgap semiconductor materials such as SiC
and GaN during the second half of the 1970’s in the era of national research
centers, and from the second half of the 1990’s, AIST assumed a leading
role in national projects aimed at establishing fundamental technologies
for these new semiconductors. With the establishment of the former Power
Electronics Research Center with AIST in 2001, research aimed at making
related technology practical was promoted in addition to fundamental research.
During this period, there were cutting edge research results, not only
in large-diameter single-crystal growth technology and high-quality epitaxial
growth technology for SiC semiconductors but also in low-loss power device
technologies and proven high-density converters that used SiC and GaN semiconductors.
Building on the results of the former Power Electronics Research Center,
we established the Energy Semiconductor Electronics Research Laboratory
in 2007, but based on the recent promotion of green innovation, there was
growth in demand for developing SiC power electronics related technology.
In particular, with the “Tsukuba Innovation Arena” concept aimed at constructing
a stronghold for technological development in Japan getting well underway,
a number of large-scale collaborative research companies and several large
national projects involving research into SiC technologies were established,
of which the Funding Program for World-Leading Innovative R&D on Science
and Technology (FIRST Program ) is representative. To make a suitable response
to these trends in policy and technology, AIST dissolved the earlier Energy
Semiconductor Electronics Research Laboratory in the name of progress,
and established a new research center for the purpose of establishing high-performance
power conversion technologies using SiC and other wide-bandgap semiconductors.
Along with this, a new research center was also established to function
as a hub of innovation for the development of related technology, and “Advanced
Power Electronics Research” is in now in full progress promoting the technological
fusion of electronics with electric power control in which wide-bandgap
semiconductors play a leading role.
To achieve these missions, we set up six new teams formed in different
areas of technology within the Center , and we are moving forward not only
with restructuring on the technological development front but also with
our managerial organization. Everyone in the Center is working together
focusing on SiC semiconductors with the concept of effecting consistent
research from wafers to devices to converters . At AIST, research is moving
forward on a daily basis with the mission of “contributing to the realization
of a society capable of continuous technological development,” and we
too aim to make our own research results great milestones in achieving
this goal. However, the mission that has been set forth is extremely ambitious,
and I believe it is one that would be impossible to accomplish without
the assistance of everyone. I would like to take this opportunity to ask
for your expansive guidance and encouragement.