ロゴKyushu Institute of TechnologyNext Generation Power Electronics Research Center

Introduction

Greeting

The COP26 Glasgow confirmed the goal of limiting the increase in average temperature due to global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Over the next decade, emissions of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, must be cut in half. This is a very high goal that cannot be achieved by the efforts of a few people alone. Three directions are crucial to achieving this goal. Efforts to achieve high efficiency, high electrification, and high flexibility are synergistic. This will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Power electronics and power semiconductor technologies play a major role in promoting these three directions. For example, the industrial sector needs to increase the efficiency of heat sources through heat pumps, the transportation sector needs to significantly improve electrification, and direct current transmission (HVDC) needs to bring energy transmission to the level of natural gas generation through pipelines.At the same time, various technological indicators of power electronics and power semiconductors (higher rate of power conversion, smaller and lighter equipment, etc.) need to be reassessed in relation to greenhouse gas reduction, as power conversion efficiency is approaching its principle limit of 100%. Furthermore, future changes in the environment, such as the opening of the electricity market including regulating power, may lead to the emergence of new indicators that were unimaginable. Until now, power electronics has achieved excellent results in each of its application areas, but this perspective has not been sufficiently examined or discussed. Breaking away from the parochialism (overly field-oriented state) regarding power electronics technology pointed out by Newell in 1973* is once again needed today, as global warming is steadily progressing. The Center will continue to conduct research and development of power electronics and power semiconductor technologies necessary for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as conduct and publish research from the above perspective. March 2022

Prof. Ichiro Omura

*W. E. Newell,"Power Electronics-Emerging from Limbo," PESC 73 Keynote

Mission

Technology Development

  1. Development of ultimate power semiconductor devices aimed at achieving extreme energy conservation
  2. We conduct research on the new types of silicon power devices with high performance as well as high-volume production capability. By incorporating a new concept that helps in realizing extreme performance based on silicon technologies coupled with high-volume production capability, we aim to achieve low loss and high switching speed performance, as well as to drastically reduce the chip area by creating high current density pathways.

  3. Development of integrated power electronics to realize micro-miniaturization.
  4. Our goal is to realize next-generation ultra-miniaturized power systems that are three-dimensionally laminated and integrated, we intend to promote research in the following fields: development of three-dimensional implementing technology with extreme high density abricating full use of LSI and MEMS processes, development of high-frequency and high-temperature operational power devices and technologies to enhance their reliability, heat xhausting technologies, and circuit and control technologies. Specifically, the realization of high-frequency switching and approches to be taken for higher heat generation density through high-density implemention are important issues for us.

  5. Development of real-time monitoring technology to detect failure causes of power semiconductor devices.
  6. Next-generation power devices have a higher current density and stronger internal electric field, which makes their structures and other factors more complicated and susceptible to degradation and breakdown. Therefore, it is becoming very difficult to ensure sufficient reliability of these devices with the existing lifetime evaluation methods. Real-time monitoring technology is a set of devices to temporally and spatially observe phenomena triggering a failure at micro-levels. By obtaining data on structural changes in packaging, time variations of the distributions of currents, electromagnetic fields, temperature, and other factors with high spatial resolving power, we aim to reveal the mechanism that leads to the failure of these devices.

  7. Power electronics control and its integration with the digital network.
  8. With the advancement of information and communication technologies, there has been steadfast progress towards digitization and networking of power devices and further progress is likely towards intelligentization of these devices. We conducted a preceding study on the gate drive circuit of power semiconductors from the perspectives of digitization and networking. By monitoring and controlling these power devices using digital circuits, we aim to improve the performance of power devices themselves and realize high-speed protection.

Turning the center into a hub, developing human resources, and drawing up a comprehensive roadmap for collaboration.

  • Our participation in the nationwide consortium of activities for power electronics and promotion of efforts to contribute as a key competence center for the Kyushu region.
  • Promotion of collaborative projects with industries through the sharing of the research outcomes based on the open laboratory vision.
  • Provision of doctoral-level education based on project-based learning and the establishment of a career flow towards industries.
  • Embodiment of the inter-university plan based on the three-party research collaboration.
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