Fuji Electric and Furukawa Electric to Set Up a Technology Research Association for Next Generation Power Device

June 22, 2009


Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd (President: Masao Yoshida; Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo) and Fuji Electric Advanced Technology Co., Ltd. (President: Naoya Eguchi; Headquarters: Hino-shi, Tokyo), a research and development (R&D) subsidiary of Fuji Electric Holdings Co., Ltd. (President: Haruo Ito; Headquarters: Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo) announced today that the both companies would set up a technology research association for next generation power device to jointly develop gallium nitride (GaN) power devices. 

Furukawa Electric has strength in basic research on GaN whereas Fuji Electric has established mass production and reliability technologies. By complementing each other with their own advantages, the both companies will strive to accelerate time-to-market for next generation power device products. Research Associations for Mining and Manufacturing Technology Law in Japan has been revised this year to enable research associations to incorporate and commercialize research achievements. Aiming to be the first association to be approved under the revised law, the both company made an application today for foundation of a technology research association for next generation power device. The technology research association is scheduled to be inaugurated in July 2009 and aims to commercialize GaN power devises in 2002 

1. Objectives 

(1) Contribute to the progress of power electronics through development of GaN power devices, which help energy-saving and environmental protection Silicon (Si) is currently used as the mainstay material for power devices. However, it is considered that it is impossible to reduce further energy loss as it has already reached the limit. Therefore, new materials such as GaN and silicon carbide (SiC) have been drawing attentions. The SiC schottky diode (SBD※1) is already available in the market but it is difficult to create a large substrate using SiC due to large costs. The GaN power device has a great potential to be used for a high-speed switching device and replace with IGBT due to its superior features such as high-voltage and low-loss. However, it has still not gone beyond research level. 

In the meantime, crystal defects have significantly been reduced and device performance has considerably improved in the past several years. This enables us to prototype the high-efficiency power supplies required for switch-mode power supplies within a few years. By becoming the first to offer the prototype in the market, the Fuji Electric Group can make a great contribution to the progress of power electronics as well as make a large step toward commercialization of GaN power devices. 

(2) Accelerate development of next generation products by leveraging the both companies' respective core technologies 

Furukawa Electric has made significant achievements in the GaN power device field and attracted the world's attention as a result of its continuous R&D efforts for transistors and diodes using GaN (see Figure 1.) 

Fuji Electric Advanced Technology Co., Ltd., an R&D subsidiary of the Fuji Electric Group, has core technologies in the power device development (see Figure 2.) and the R&D of power device application products, including inverters and power supplies, as well as many researchers and engineers who are engaged in different device designs and processes.

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