- IEEE Nikola Tesla Award
Akira Chiba has been a driving force in motor design with game-changing innovations that have provided powerful and efficient alternatives to traditional motor constructions. Chiba is a pioneer of bearingless motor technology, incorporating additional stator windings for producing two-dimensional radial forces that act as magnetic bearings. Bearingless motors provide high rotational speed, compactness, and no wear particles compared to traditional motors. They are integral to specialized pump applications where ultraclean conditions are required, such as in semiconductor and liquid-crystal display manufacturing. Chiba has also addressed the concern for the scarcity of rare-earth metals used for permanent-magnet motors in automotive traction drives. He developed a rare-earth-free switched-reluctance motor featuring competitive torque density and efficiency, and enhanced output with rare-earth-based motors featured in leading hybrid vehicles.
An IEEE Fellow, Chiba is a professor with the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan.