Introducing the 2019 Toshiba Fellow

Dr. Matt Smith

What were you doing before your Toshiba Fellowship and what made you apply?

Having completed my PhD in GaN electronics for space applications, I undertook postdoctoral research under the University of Glasgow, where I helped to develop GaN-on-diamond RF power transistors for 5G applications and beyond. When I discovered that research topics for the 2019 Toshiba Fellowship Program included GaN electronics, I was excited for the opportunity to apply. My PhD supervisor Prof. Peter Parbrook had always spoken very highly of his time at Toshiba, including on the Toshiba Fellowship Program. The world-class research output and facilities represented an ideal opportunity to continue my development and learn from leading researchers in my field, as well as experience a different cultural setting.

What research are you doing at Toshiba?

My work in Toshiba has focused on the development of high power GaN transistors, for application in next generation systems requiring efficient handling of electrical power, such as transportation and communications. My work aims to complement existing progress at the Toshiba Research & Development Center by improving GaN device performance and reliability, building on the strong knowledge base at the Electron Devices Laboratory. A wide range of activities include material development, modelling, device design, device fabrication in the clean room and advanced device characterization. These are supported through regular meetings and discussion, ensuring real-time sharing of up-to-date results between group members and helpful feedback to optimize progress.

What do you like about working for Toshiba in Japan?

The atmosphere at the Toshiba Research & Development Center in Kawasaki makes working here a rewarding experience. We are encouraged to continually engage with new technical challenges to further our understanding and development, which is made possible by the positive working environment. Colleagues are always keen to help each other and share experience and expertise, enabled by an emphasis on communication. Furthermore, the technical and recreational facilities are of the highest standard, with outstanding cleanroom and characterization facilities enabling top quality research. The site is ideally located on the Tama River, close to the cities of Tokyo, Yokohama and Kawasaki and a short distance from areas of outstanding natural beauty.

What do you enjoy outside work in Japan?

Japan offers the perfect balance of city and country life, and the world-leading public transport system means access to either is cheap, quick and straightforward. A favorite place of mine is Kamakura, less than an hour away by train from Kawasaki, just south of Yokohama. It has beautiful beaches, rich walks through dense forests, a host of stunning shrines and temples, and many delicious artisan restaurants. Of course the nearby cities of Tokyo and Yokohama offer everything one can imagine, and exploring them always yields exciting new experiences. Views from some of the region’s tallest buildings complement the extraordinary flatness of the Kanto Plain, providing breathtaking views of vast urban landscapes and offering a profound appreciation of the cities and our place within them.