Friday, August 31, 2012

No. 601: A new semiconductor element made of synthetic diamond (August 29, 2012)

Researchers from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and Tokyo Institute of Technology jointly developed a new semiconductor element that reduces power loss of transformer stations, railway cars, and e-vehicle to less than one fiftieth. The new element is one of the next-generation power semiconductors expected to become the core of the energy saving technology for years to come. The researchers made it using synthetic diamond made of methane. A power semiconductor made of synthetic diamond resists high voltage 10 times more than the power semiconductor made of a currently state-of-the-art material and reduces power loss in operation considerably. They are confident that they can produce the synthetic diamond at a lower cost than they produce silicon carbide and gallium nitride in the future. They wish to put the new power semiconductor into practical use in 2020.  

If all the silicon power semiconductors currently used are to be replaced by power semiconductors made of diamond, it will be possible to save power equivalent to the power generated by eight nuclear power plants with a generation capacity of 1 million kW each. The new diamond power semiconductor doest not need equipment for cooling and has 10 times higher thermal conductivity than silicone. The world power semiconductor market is estimated to grow more than two times in the next 10 years to 4,500 billion yen in 2010.

 A new semiconductor element made of 
synthetic diamond can reduce power loss considerably. 

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