The other day, I visited the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, after participated in the Techno-Bridge-Fair, held by AIST.
In the morning, I observed the production line of large (6-inch) wafers that enables mass production of silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductor devices. This line has been completed with cooperation between the AIST and Sumitomo Electric.
Power devices are used for power and motor control in an extensive range of fields, from electric vehicles to photovoltaic and wind power generation. In such power devices, SiC enables a considerable reduction in power loss compared with silicon (Si). Accordingly, great expectations are placed on SiC as the next-generation power device material that can lead to the further evolution of energy saving.
I observed the production line in a clean room, where staff members of Sumitomo Electric were working very hard toward the commercialization of the wafers. There seems to be many problems still to be solved in terms of achieving stable quality. However, this field is expected to grow further, and I hope that their efforts will bear fruit and contribute to our profit in the future.
In the afternoon, I visited the Cyber Security Collaborative Research Laboratory, another joint project with the AIST. The visit enabled me to confirm the progress being made in the laboratory's research toward the establishment of the security technology and quality needed for infrastructure, automobiles and other products connected to the network, as well as the progress in cyber security research.
Today, cyberattacks are becoming much more sophisticated, with the number of incidents increasing considerably, requiring us to hasten the establishment of security technology and development of human resources. We need to promote research and development in this area as well.