Akio Nakagawa’s development of the non-latch-up insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT), which switches power at high speed, created an indispensable power device now used in applications ranging from air conditioners to hybrid vehicles. Before Dr. Nakagawa’s pioneering work in 1984, IGBTs of that time were prone to failure or even destruction due to latch-up (a type of short circuit) caused by the parasitic thyristor of the IGBT. His invented design principles completely suppressed the latch-up even under high-voltage and large-current operating conditions. The ability to withstand the “load-short-circuit” condition for more than 20 µs exceeded the capability of existing bipolar transistors. This set the global standard for IGBT design and enabled its successful commercialization.
An IEEE Senior Member, Dr. Nakagawa is currently Technical Consultant of Nakagawa Consulting Office. He previously served as Chief Fellow of Toshiba Corporation Semiconductor Company, Tokyo, Japan from 2005 to 2009.