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Advanced Power Electronics Research Center

Director’s Message


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.