Dr. Matsunami Awarded Honda Prize for Pioneering SiC Work

The Honda Foundation, a public-interest incorporated foundation that Honda Motor Co. founder Soichiro Honda created, reported that the Honda Prize 2017 will go to Dr. Hiroyuki Matsunami, Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University for his contributions to pioneering research about “silicon carbide (SiC) power devices” and their practical applications.

The Honda Prize, established in 1980 as Japan’s first international award in the field of science and technology, is annually awarded to an individual or group in recognition for achievements in the field of ecotechnology. Ecotechnology combines ecology, which loosely translated means the house of civilization and technology. Ecotechnology strives to advance human achievement while concurrently preserving the natural environment.

Honda Prize Winner Awarded Medal, Diploma, and 10 million yen

Dr. Matsunami is the 38th Honda Prize laureate. The award ceremony will be held at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan on November 16, 2017. In addition to the prize medal and the diploma, the laureate will be awarded 10 million yen.

Power device applications such as voltage boosting, dropping, and conversion between alternating current and direct current, and electric energy regulation usually use silicon electronics. However, silicon carbide (SiC) based electronics were found to operate at higher power and higher temperature with significantly improved efficiency compared to silicon.

Starting with the Step-Controlled Epitaxy process that Dr. Matsunami’s developed, through long years of research, he pioneered the SiC production method and the technologies for practical applications of SiC for power devices. Dr. Matsunami’s accomplishments were considered appropriate for the Honda Prize because the practical uses of SiC power devices he pioneered would lead improved efficiency in electricity generation and conversion and reduced fossil fuel consumption for electricity generation.