John M. Rowell


In the 1980s, Japan had essentially no superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) technology. From 1990 to 1996, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) funded the Superconducting Sensor Laboratory (SSL) to focus on this technology, and by the time of the WTEC panel's visit to Japan in 1997, prototype or product SQUID systems were being made by Daikin, Seiko, Shimadzu, Sumitomo, and Yokogawa. In Yokogawa's case, the magnetoencephalograph (MEG) system product announced in late 1997 is the result of technology transfer from a private university, the Kanazawa Institute of Technology (KIT), where Prof. Hisashi Kado and some of his colleagues from SSL continued their research. While some of the companies might argue the extent to which the SSL influenced their own technology, the increase in Japan's SQUID capabilities over the past decade has been dramatic.

During its trip to Japan, the WTEC panel visited two companies that have ongoing SQUID R&D activities: Daikin and Sumitomo Electric (see the site visit reports in Appendix B). However, much of the information presented in this chapter has been gathered from panelists' previous visits to Japan and through discussions with colleagues in the United States. We wish to thank in particular Dr. H. Itozaki of Sumitomo Electric, Prof. Kado of KIT, and Prof. J. Clarke of the University of California, Berkeley, for many valuable discussions of SQUID technology and products, and Dr. D. Crum, who provided us with many of the details of the history of the companies in San Diego.

Published: July 1998; WTEC Hyper-Librarian