THE PLAYERS

Who are the major players in superconducting electronics in Japan and how do they contrast with those in the United States? Tables 2.1 and 2.2 contrast the major institutions involved in superconducting electronic research and development in Japan and the United States. The institutions are grouped according to the nature of the organization: national laboratories, large corporations, small (start-up) companies, and universities. In the case of Japan, two refrigerator companies are also shown. It should be noted that these tables (indeed, the whole of this report) were assembled during the first 6 months of 1997, and although efforts have been made to update information presented, changes certainly have taken place since that time.

Table 2.1
WTEC Survey of Superconducting Electronic Activities in Japan
 

HTS

LTS

General

Micro wave

JJ

Sensors

High Freq. Mixers

Digital Signal Proc.

Switch

Sensors

Refrig./ Packaging

JJ CMOS Hybrid

AdvancedDev./Ckts.

Basic Materials/Phys.

Natl Labs

ISTEC

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

               

[active R&D]

ETL

 

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

   

[active R&D]

   

[some R&D; see footnote] 1

 

[active R&D]

KARC/CRL

 

[active R&D]

 

[active R&D]

             
 

Large Corporations

NEC

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

     

[active R&D]

     

[active R&D]

 

NTT

                   

[active R&D]

NTT DoCoMo

[some R&D; see footnote] 2

                   

Matsushita

[active R&D]

           

[active R&D]

     

Sumitomo

[some R&D; see footnote] 3

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

           

[active R&D]

 
 

Small Cos.

AMTEL

[active R&D]

           

[active R&D]

     

KIT/ET

           

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

     
 

Refrg. Cos.

Daikin

           

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

     

Aisin-Seiki

             

[active R&D]

     
 

Universities

Saitama U.

[some R&D; see footnote] 4

       

[some R&D; see footnote] 1

         

Nagoya U.

 

[active R&D]

     

[some R&D; see footnote] 1

     

[active R&D]

 

RCAST

 

[active R&D]

             

[active R&D]

 

U. Tokyo

                   

[active R&D]

 

1 Planned activity; 2 Test of purchased components, only; 3 Materials work only; 4 Dielectric resonators

 

Table 2.2
WTEC Survey of Superconducting Electronic Activities in the U.S
 

HTS

LTS

GENERAL

Micro wave

JJ

Sensors

High Freq. Mixers

Digital Signal Proc.

Switch

Sensors

Refrig./ Packaging

Cold CMOS

AdvancedDev./Ckts.

Basic Materials/Phys.

National Labs

U. of Ill. STC

                   

[active R&D]

Lincoln Lab

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

   

Analog

 

     

[some R&D; see footnote] 1

   

JPL

 

[active R&D]

 

[active R&D]

             

NIST

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

[some R&D; see footnote] 2

   

[active R&D] /[some R&D; see footnote] 2

[some R&D; see footnote] 2/3

 

[active R&D]

 
 

Large Corp.s

TRW

 

[active R&D]

   

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

 

[active R&D]

     

Northrop Grum.

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

   

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

         

DuPont

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

                 

Lucent

[active R&D]

           

[active R&D]

   

[active R&D]

 

Small Companies

Hypres

       

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

 

[active R&D]

     

Conductus

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

   

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

 

[active R&D]

 

STI

[active R&D]

           

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

   

ISC

[active R&D]

           

[active R&D]

     

SCT

[active R&D]

           

[active R&D]

     
 

Universities

Rochester

       

[active R&D]

           

SUNY

 

[active R&D]

   

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

     

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

Berkeley

 

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

 

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

   

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

U. of Md.

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

             

[active R&D]

Stanford

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

   

[some R&D; see footnote] 4

     

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

[active R&D]

 

1 Planned activity; 2 Voltage standard and high precision DAC; 3 Basic engineering research; 4 Advanced memory concepts

 

Some caution is in order regarding these tables. The Japanese institutions listed are only those for which the panel explicitly acquired information during its visit to Japan. Since this visit was focused primarily on the passive rf applications of HTS, the list is necessarily somewhat skewed. For example, neither Hitachi nor Fujitsu is shown among the large industries, nor are Tokyo Institute of Technology or Sendai shown among the universities. Also, the list of U.S. institutions was constructed using the best judgment of the panel on institutions that provide the most appropriate contrast with those listed from Japan. The goal was to draw valid comparative conclusions in the best way we could, not to be comprehensive.

With these caveats in mind, the following general findings are evident. In Japan, industrial interest is greatest in large, vertically integrated companies that view superconductivity as a means of achieving higher value added products. By contrast, U.S. efforts are centered predominantly in large defense firms and in small commercial original equipment manufacturing (OEM) companies, sometimes in partnership with large systems-oriented companies. In Japan, there are refrigerator companies with in-house efforts to develop superconducting applications, whereas in the United States, such efforts occur typically through industrial alliances. Finally, U.S. universities are presently active across a wider range of basic and applied research than are their counterparts in Japan. This situation may change, however, in light of the new Science and Technology Basic Law in Japan and the declining research budgets in superconductivity in the United States. Also the U.S. multi-institution NSF Science and Technology Center on High Temperature Superconductivity is scheduled to end in 1999.

While there is a wide range of industrial programs in Japan presently, no well-defined "market pulls" are evident. This is consistent with the long-term point of view in Japan. The stronger market orientation in the United States is a consequence of the strong focus on systems insertions expected toward the end of major Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) programs, combined with the expectations of venture capitalists regarding startup companies.

Some more specific findings are also evident from Tables 2.1 and 2.2, along with the various site reports contained in Appendix B. There clearly has been less emphasis on microwave applications in Japan than in the United States, but at the same time the Japanese are examining a wider range of such applications (e.g., satellite as well as terrestrial wireless). They are not, however, working on passive rf technologies for radar or avionics, consistent with their commercial orientation. Similarly, high speed data network switching is favored for digital applications, and there is no apparent interest in Josephson junction (JJ) analog-to-digital converters or digital signal processors. In addition, we note that NTT in Japan has recently greatly reduced its effort in superconductivity largely to one focused on basic research, while NEC continues a program in applications. This is similar to the situation in the United States, where only telecommunication hardware companies (e.g., Lucent) but not service providers (e.g., AT&T) have activities in superconducting electronics.

Finally, the panel saw no evidence in Japan of work on JJ/CMOS hybrids or cryogenic CMOS for its own sake, although one JJ/CMOS (memory) project has been proposed by the Electrotechnical Laboratory of Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry. The sense present in the United States that cryoelectronics should be thought of as an overall field, as opposed to isolated technologies, is not evident in Japan. On the other hand, there very clearly is a growing interest in Japan (at Sumitomo, Daikin, and other firms) in both HTS and LTS superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) sensors for medical and nondestructive evaluation applications, just as such interest appears to be waning in the United States. There also is some interest in SQUIDs for earthquake detection.


Published: July 1998; WTEC Hyper-Librarian