Site: Optoelectronics Technology Research Laboratory (OTL)
Optoelectronics Technology Research Corp. (OTRC)
5-5 Tohkodai, Tsukuba
Ibaraki 300-26, Japan
Tel.: 0298-47-4331
Fax: 0298-47-4180

Date Visited: December 12, 1994

Report Author: M. DeHaemer



L. Coldren
M. DeHaemer


Dr. Yoshifumi Katayama
Research Director OTL
Dr. Izuo Hayashi
Advisor, OTL
Akio Kawagishi
Research Fellow, OTL
Kiyoshi Hasegawa
Executive Vice President, OTRC
Koichi Dazai
Director Research Administration Division, OTRC


The Japanese government, under the Japan Key Technology Project, and thirteen member companies founded the Optoelectronics Technology Research Corporation (OTRC) in 1986. OTRC was in the final year of its charter at the time of the JTEC visit. The organization followed a similar joint research corporation and the Optoelectronics Joint Research Laboratory (OJL), which operated from 1981 to 1986. OJL's objective was to conduct basic research to enable fabrication of optoelectronic integrated circuits and transfer of the technology to its nine member companies at the end of the project.

At Tsukuba, the Optoelectronics Technology Research Laboratory (OTL) has been exploring fundamental materials technology for applications of quantum effects in semiconductor structures. OTL concentrates on materials research of III-V compound semiconductors and seeks to discover breakthrough technologies for future OEICs, such as atomic-scale-controlled epitaxy, maskless fine pattern formation, characterization technologies for multidimensional super-lattice structures, and solid state physics of quantum confined structures. The branch laboratories of OTL at the thirteen member companies conduct complementary research that is more immediate for device development, emphasizing current materials and manufacturing technologies. The JTEC team visited OTL in Tsukuba Science City, which is staffed by research personnel from the member corporations. The OTL representatives gave the JTEC team the opportunity to get acquainted with the purpose of the organization and then provided a tour of a number of experiments in the laboratory.

At the time of team's visit, it was not yet known whether there would be a follow-on project to OTRC that would keep the OTL in operation for further experimentation. Although the team's hosts were enthusiastic about the quality of the basic science they performed and somewhat optimistic about another project to follow the OTRC, R&D managers at sites in some of the member organizations that panelists visited were not supportive of sending their company's research funds to this joint project.

OTL representatives asserted that important science to support the optoelectronics industry had been accomplished, and that technology transfer beneficial to member companies was accomplished in a number of ways: prepublication knowledge passed by researchers to members, publication of research findings, return of scientists to their home laboratories, participation in patents for prototype production machinery and device construction methodology, and participation in workshops. At the end of the project, the participating companies have options to acquire the advanced equipment used in the research. (See Hayashi, Hirano, and Katayama 1989 for detailed discussion of OTL and its predecessor joint research activities.) During the discussions, the host group emphasized the importance of experience with high-vacuum technology as one method of achieving very thin layers and nanometer size features in OEICs. Also, Hitachi and NEC were described as being strongly interested in the basic research of OTL. The thirteen member companies are

With a staff of approximately 20 scientists at Tsukuba and an additional 20 scientists working on the project in their home company laboratories, OTL's budget for the duration of the ten-year project is approximately 10 billion yen(~$100 million). Seven billion yen (~$70 million) will have come from the Japan Key Technology Center, a government agency; the remaining 3 billion yen(~$30 million) will have been invested by the 13 member companies.


A tour of the laboratory enabled a quick synopsis of research projects as well as a view of a first class research facility. The following projects were underway:

Atomic-Scale Controlled Epitaxy

Real time and in situ observation of epitaxial surfaces by scanning microprobe reflection high-energy electron diffraction (u-RHEED) that was developed at OTL.

Real time GaAs epitaxial growth has been observed by using u-RHEED. A series of images showed actual observation of Ga droplet formation after growth exceeded one monolayer, followed by absorption into the crystal lattice after Ga supply was stopped and As supply began.

In Situ Processing For Fine Pattern Formation

A high-vacuum multichamber system allows nanometer-scale electron beam lithography.

Material Characterization On The Atomic Scale

STM observation of GaAs (001) surfaces have been performed using an ultrahigh-vacuum scanning tunneling microscope with atomic scale resolution.

Other experiments included work in heteroepitaxy, high-resolution laser spectroscopy, and GaAs surface chemistry.


AAPPS. 1994. "Optoelectronics technology research laboratory in Japan," Bulletin of the Association of Asian Pacific Physical Societies, 4 (3&4) (December): 41.

Hayashi, Hirano, and Katayama. 1989. "Collaborative semiconductor research in Japan." Proceedings of the IEEE 77 (9) (September).

Isu, Watanabe, Hata, and Katayama. 1990. "In-situ microscopic observation of GaAs surfaces during molecular beam epitaxy and metalorganic molecular beam epitaxy by scanning microprobe reflection high energy electron diffraction." Journal of Crystal Growth 100: 433-8.

Morishita, Goto, Nomura, Tamura, Isu, and Katayama. 1994. "Real-time scanning microprobe reflection high-energy electron diffraction observations of InGaAs surfaces during molecular-beam epitaxy on InP substrates." Journal of Vacuum Science Technology B 12(4) (Jul/Aug): 2532-2540.

Morishita, Goto, Nomura, Tamura, Isu, and Katayama. 1994. "Real-time observations of appearance of crosshatched pattern during molecular beam epitaxy of compressive InGaAs on InP." Japan Journal of Applied Physics 33: L9-12.

OTRC. Undated. "Key Technology for the 21st Century" (descriptive brochure).

_____. Undated. "Technology for Crystal Control on the Atomic Scale" (project description).

Published: February 1996; WTEC Hyper-Librarian