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A blank canvas: The future of device in 10 years
Akira Nishiyama, Fellow
Expertise: Devices and processes
"The technology you develop is released to the market, and many people can benefit from it."
Discussion on the interest in conducting fundamental research at a company, and on contributing to society through semiconductor devices and processes
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Interview video: A blank canvas: The future of device in 10 years
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As a Fellow, I work on the development of fundamental research in device and process technology. Flash memory has small memory components in it. Using "device technology", we come up with the design of the components. While "process technology" enables us to know how to make the designed elements.
I've done a lot of work in R&D, but I'd have to choose the "High-k" MOS Transistor as the most exciting one. "High-k" is the high dielectric constant material, which is used as a gate insulator in MOS transistor technology. We were aiming to make significant reforms in the high-speed CMOS technology and material. I participated in the development as a leader of the R&D Center. The development had a phase when it progressed exceedingly well, but we also faced stagnation. We also had a hard time because we had to run trial lots since it was new material. Nevertheless, we overcame the difficulties, and we were genuinely happy when the first 100-nanometer level High-k MOS transistor ran for the first time in 2002.
As a company researcher
When you work as a researcher in a company, the technology you develop will be released to the market. In turn, many people can benefit from it. For me, that's the greatest reward.
Contribution to the world 10 years from now
We can, for instance, imagine the world 10 years from now and think about new devices which will be necesarry in 10 years. It'd be very satisfying to have the freedom and being able to plan things from scratch. I don't know if we can call it a blank canvas, but let's take carbon-free as an example. It means that we need a more green and sustainable society in the future. If that's the case, what kind of device and memory device will be suitable then? We could also think from other perspectives, like changing how we make devices to bring more good to the community. I think being able to do that is both meaningful and exciting.
Akira Nishiyama, Fellow, Institute of Memory Technology Research & Development
Brief personal history
- 1985: Completed Electronic Systems Major (Master’s Degree) at Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Science & Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology
- 1985: Joined Toshiba Corporation, assigned to Research & Development Center
- 1993 - 1994: Visiting researcher at FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics (AMOLF), the Netherlands
- 1998: Obtained Doctorate Degree (Engineering) from Waseda University
- 2006: Laboratory Leader, Advanced LSI Technology Laboratory, Corporate Research & Development Center, Toshiba Corporation
- 2009: Assistant Director, Corporate Research & Development Center, Toshiba Corporation
- 2012: Senior Fellow, Corporate Research & Development Center, Toshiba Corporation
- 2014: Chief Fellow, Corporate Research & Development Center, Toshiba Corporation
- 2018: Senior Fellow, Institute of Memory Technology Research & Development, Toshiba Memory Corporation
- 2019: Fellow, Institute of Memory Technology Research & Development, Toshiba Memory Corporation
Devices and processes
Research and development to increase the speed and reduce the power consumption of MOS transistors
- 1985 - 1993: Research and development of technology to reduce the source-drain resistance to increase MOS transistor speed
- 1994 - 1996: Research and development of source-drain semiconductor heterojunction formation as technology to reduce the parasitic effect on SOI (Silicon On Insulator) MOS transistors
- 1996 - 1999: Research and development of substrate defect evaluation technology, 50 nm CMOS, etc.
- 1999 - 2006: Research and development of high-dielectric gate insulation film/metal gate electrode technology to reduce MOS transistor power consumption
- 2006 - 2009: Led research and development of fundamental technology such as nonvolatile memory, high-speed low power MOS transistors, advanced TCAD, advanced semiconductor analysis, etc.
- 2009 - 2017: Supervised research and development of fundamental technology such as nonvolatile memory, high-speed low power MOS transistors, new FPGA, advanced TCAD, advanced semiconductor analysis, HDD devices, optical disks, sensors, nanofabrication lithography etc.
- 2000 - 2007: Part-time lecturer, Musashi Institute of Technology (Current Tokyo City University)
- 2009 - 2015: Visiting Professor, Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Science & Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology
- 2018: Part-time lecturer, Department of Electrical Engineering, Electronics, and Information Engineering, School of Engineering, Nagoya University (Current as of 2021)
- 2019: Visiting Professor, Global Innovation Center, Kyushu University (Current as of 2021)
- September 2010: Fellow Award, The Japan Society of Applied Physics
External organization officer appointments, etc.
- Executive Director, The Japan Society of Applied Physics (2013-2015)
- Vice President, The Japan Society of Applied Physics (2017-2019)
- IEEE Electron Device Society, Technical Committee member (2014-2017)
- IEEE Electron Device Society Japan Joint Chapter Chair(2018-2020)
- The content and profile are current as of the time of the interview (June 2021.)
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