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Department of Electronics and Manufacturing

Enhancing industrial competitiveness through innovative technologies that lead varying manufacturing

We are contributing to enhancing industrial competitiveness by developing advanced electronic and optical device technologies that enable both performance enhancement and significant energy savings of IT equipment, and innovative manufacturing technologies that enable energy savings, resource savings, and low cost. Moreover, we are building a highly efficient production system by combining innovative manufacturing technologies and sensing technologies based on the advanced devices.

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New Research Results

Memory Retention Characteristics improved with a Magnetic Memory Element Using Fluoride

Researchers in AIST developed a magnetic tunnel junction element (hereafter, “MTJ element”) with a new structure using a tunnel barrier layer that combines lithium fluoride (LiF) and magnesium oxide (MgO) and successfully enhanced perpendicular magnetic anisotropy, which is an indicator of the memory retention characteristics of magnetic memory (MRAM). It was found that by introducing an extremely thin LiF layer only 1 or 2 atoms thick between iron (Fe) and MgO, the magnetization direction of the Fe can be stabilized in the direction perpendicular to the film surface, and the perpendicular magnetic anisotropy is increased to approximately twice that of the conventional structure using only MgO.
This MTJ element consists of a structure in which a tunnel barrier layer around 1 nm thick is sandwiched by a magnetic thin film and can store data semi-permanently according to the magnetization direction of the magnetic thin film. Utilization of this characteristic achieves non-volatile memory that does not require standby power, and studies are underway for application not only to existing Neumann-type computing, but also to brain-type computing that aims for advanced data processing by mimicking the structure and data processing method of the brain.

Figure of new research results Electronics and Manufacturing

Cross-sectional TEM image of newly developed MTJ element (left) and effect to enhance data retention characteristics (right)

Achieving Superlubricity Simply by Placing Water on Plant Oil

AIST researchers achieved superlubricated surface with a friction coefficient of 0.01 or less. The surface that retains multiple lubricating fluids was developed by spreading oleic acid, which is a component of plant oil, on a hydrophobic-oleophilic treated material surface and placing water on that oil surface.
Friction has conventionally been reduced by using large amounts of lubricating oil or expensive lubricants such as graphene. However, the developed technology can achieve superlubric state with only plant oil spread thinly over a hydrophobic-oleophilic treated material surface and a small amount of water. This technology achieves a superlubricated fluid surface that is low cost and has low environmental impact simply by adding water on a lubricating oil film at the contact sites of equipment that requires low friction. As such, application is expected to contribute to reduction of CO2 emissions by reducing energy loss due to friction and promoting efficient use of energy in automobiles and industrial equipment, etc.

Figure of new research results Electronics and Manufacturing

Schematic diagram of superlubricated surface (left) and results of surface observation after rubbing (right). Surface obtained by placing water on oleic acid spread on the surface of a hydrophobic-oleophilic treated material.

Research Unit

Advanced Manufacturing Research Institute
Research Institute for Advanced Electronics and Photonics
Advanced Coating Technology Reserch Center
Sensing System Research Center
Research Center for Emerging Computing Technologies
Platform Photonics Research Center

Other research organizations

Research Laboratory

Open Innovation Laboratory

Since FY 2016, as a part of the “Open Innovation Arena concept” promoted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), AIST has created the concept of “open innovation laboratories” (OILs), collaborative research bases located on university campuses, and has been engaged in their provision. We are planning to establish more than ten OILs by FY 2020.

AIST will merge the basic research carried out at universities, etc. with AISTʼs goal-oriented basic research and applied technology development, and will promote bridging research and evelopment and industry by the establishment of OILs.

Cooperative Research Laboratories

In order to conduct research and development more closely related to strategies of companies, we have established collaborative research laboratories, bearing partner company names.

Partner companies provide their researchers and funding, and AIST provides research resources, such as its researchers, research facilities, and intellectual property. The loaned researchers of companies and AIST researchers jointly conduct research and development.

By setting up cooperative research laboratories, we will accelerate the commercialization of our goal-oriented basic research and application research with partner companies.

  • TEL–AIST Cooperative Research Laboratory for Advanced Materials and Processes
  • NEC-AIST Quantum Technology Cooperative Research Laboratory
  • JTEKT-AIST Cooperative Research Laboratory for Smart Factory

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