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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

Development of a "Hygroelectric Cell" that Generates Electricity Using Changes in the Moisture in the Air

A "hygroelectric cell" was developed by an AIST researcher. It can generate electricity using changes in the moisture in the air.
Development has been ongoing for many years for energy harvesting technology that uses minute energy present in the environment, such asthermoelectric conversion, photovoltaics, and vibration-based power generation, as stand-alone power supply for small electronic devices. However, locations with conventional energy sources such as heat, light, and vibration are limited, which made it difficult to say that this was technology that "can generate electricity anywhere." Therefore, energy harvesting technology is being developed that uses moisture (water vapor in the air) that exists nearly everywhere on the earth as an energy source. Conventional power generators that use moisture provide current on the nanoampere to microampere level, which cannot be a practical power supply. The newly developed hygroelectric cell operates on a new principle that combines deliquescent material and osmotic (salt concentration differential) power generation, and it has low internal resistance which enables continuous output of milliampere-level current. This cell can generate electricity using the difference in daytime and nighttime moisture simply by exposure to air. This technology is expected to apply an ultra-low power supply for IoT devices.

Figure of new research results Electronics and Manufacturing

Developed hygroelectric cell (left) and hygroelectric cell voltage when the humidity is varied (right)

Integration of Single-crystal Tunnel Junction Elements in LSI by 300 mm Wafer Bonding

Researchers in AIST developed fabrication process technology to integrate single-crystal memory elements for non-volatile memory MRAM in silicon LSI. Non-volatile memory MRAM consists of recording bits comprised of magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs), semiconductor transistors (CMOS) used as bit selector, metal interconnects, etc. This memory is fabricated by directly depositing polycrystalline MTJs with magnesium oxide tunnel barriers onto polycrystalline metal wires. However, MRAM is expected to reach its scaling limit with this conventional technology due to increasing performance variations and insufficient material properties of polycrystalline MTJ elements. Therefore, single-crystal MTJs with new materials and integration technology for the single-crystal MTJs are attracting attention as a solution for extend the scalability.

Figure of new research results Electronics and Manufacturing

Electron microscopy image of single-crystal MTJ (right) integrated into non-volatile memory STT-MRAM (left)

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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