Milestone-Proposal:Commercialization of Multi-Layer Ceramic Capacitors with Nickel electrode (Ni-MLCCs), 1982
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To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation? No
Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes
Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Yes
Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes
Was it of at least regional importance? Yes
Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes
Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes
Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes
Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? Yes
Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:
Title of the proposed milestone:
Commercialization of Multi-Layer Ceramic Capacitors with Nickel electrode (Ni-MLCCs), 1982.
Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:
Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd. released new Ni-MLCCs in 1982, and has since been the world’s leading manufacturer of Ni-MLCCs. Through innovations of capacitance enhancement, fabrication miniaturization, and cost reduction, the world annual production of Ni-MLCCs has risen to 3 trillion, due to their expanding utility in computer/network devices, home appliances, industrial equipment, and medical instruments. Now, Ni-MLCC is the key element indispensable to all electronics devices.
In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?
IEEE Kansai Section
IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:
IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):
Unit: Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd.
Senior Officer Name: Nagato Omori
IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:
Unit: IEEE Kansai Section
Senior Officer Name: Toshiharu Sugie
IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):
IEEE Section: IEEE Kansai section
IEEE Section Chair name: Toshiharu Sugie
Proposer name: Isao Shirakawa
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public
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Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the intended milestone plaque site(s):
Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.
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What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)?
The major historical significance of Murata’s commercialization of Ni-MLCCs is briefed as follows.
1. Historical background of the birth of Ni-MLCCs: The discovery of the barium titanate (BaTiO3) ceramics with high dielectric constant in 1944 and the advancement of the surface mount technology triggered the development of a series of multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) with Pt (platinum), Pd (palladium), and Ag (silver)-Pd electrodes, which were used mainly for military and industrial purposes in the 1960s through the early 1970s. Although the MLCC with Ag-Pd electrode was the cheapest of all MLCCs in those days, the material prices of both Ag and Pd were skyrocketing due to the 1973 oil crisis, and hence a much cheaper base metal was thirsted to be substituted for the Ag-Pd alloy. Seeing that the necessary condition for a metal to be used for the internal electrode of MLCC was that it could be co-sintered with the dielectric material at low oxygen partial pressure, in 1974 Murata began to search for a new MLCC with a base metal electrode.
2. Selection of Ni for electrode and development of new MLCCs: Murata first focused on Ni (nickel) as a feasible candidate for the electrode of MLCC because of its extremely low price, and then tried to develop a dielectric material to compose MLCC with this Ni electrode, until in 1975 Murata successfully acquired the dielectrics made of BaTiO3 ceramics with its composition BaO partly displaced by CaO . Through fabrication reformations [2, 3], Murata attained a newly-made dielectrics which exhibited excellent insulating properties even if co-sintered with the Ni electrode. Thus, in 1982 by adopting this dielectrics Murata could embark on the mass production, therefore the commercialization, of the new MLCCs with Ni electrode (Ni-MLCCs) [1, 4].
3. Achievements of commercializing new Ni-MLCCs: Noting that as compared with the material price of Ag-Pd alloy, that of Ni was almost 1/300 in the early 1980s, it turned out that Murata’s new Ni-MLCCs extremely reduced the fabrication cost. In addition, due to the progress of the miniaturization technology as well as the surface mount technology, the industrial demands for the Ni-MLCCs grew so drastically that Murata attained the global lead in the commercialization of Ni-MLCCs. Owing to Murata’s outstanding achievements of developing the new Ni-MLCCs, Mr. Y. Sakabe, a chief engineer at Murata, won the Fulrath Award from the American Ceramic Association in 1986, and Murata also received the Corporate Technical Achievement Award at the American Ceramic Association’s 100th Annual Meeting in 1998 .
What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?
1. Obstacle to improving the quality of Ni-MLCCs: Even after Murata successfully found a useful dielectric material in 1975, there still remained the hard problem of how to enhance the capacitance of the new Ni-MLCC. To cope with this difficulty, Murata managed to increase the capacitance density of Ni-MLCC not only by reducing the dielectric/electrode thickness but also by augmenting the number of layers. Eventually, in 1982 Murata successfully embarked on the mass production of the new Ni-MLCCs [1, 4].
2. Obstacle to maintaining the reliability: Centralab Inc. (Milwaukee, USA) released Ni-MLCCs in 1979, which unfortunately caused a fatal accident of deteriorating the insulation characteristics, resulting in the production stoppage . Motivated by this incident, Murata concentrated much on developing more reliable Ni-MLCCs, until they successfully attained new Ni-MLCCs, in which the dielectrics exhibited excellent insulating properties even if co-fired with the Ni electrode. Thus Murata’s new Ni-MLCCs could maintain the reliable quality . .
What features set this work apart from similar achievements?
There are a number of distinctive features of Murata’s Ni-MLCCs as summarized below.
1. Unique device performances of the new Ni-MLCCs: Adopting Ni as the electrode of MLCC, Murata realized a much cheaper MLCC, as already stated. Through attempts of reducing the dielectric/electrode thickness as well as augmenting the number of layers, Murata managed to enhance the capacitance of the new Ni-MLCC [4, 5]. Thus Murata distinctively achieved not only the fabrication cost reduction but also the capacitance enhancement of Ni-MLCCs.
2. Contribution to social life: The applications of Ni-MLCCs have been widely expanded not only for industrial and medical use but also for commercial use, such as for home appliances, PCs, cameras, wearable devices, mobile devices, etc. Now that more than 1000 Ni-MLCCs are embedded in only one smart phone, it can be seen that Ni-MLCCs have greatly contributed to the miniaturization and cost reduction of a tremendous number of mobile devices, and therefore to user’s convenience.
3. Contribution to market demands: Centralab’s Ni-MLCCs released in 1979 caused a serious trouble of deteriorating the insulation characteristics , whereas Murata’s new Ni-MLCCs maintained the high qualities for a long period. Hence, the industrial demands for the Ni-MLCCs grew so drastically that a tremendous amount of Murata’s Ni-MLCCs are embedded extensively in electronics devices, until Murata has gained the global lead in the commercialization of Ni-MLCCs .
Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.
 Y. Sakabe, “Nickel electrode ceramic capacitor”, Electronic Semiconductor, vol. 7. pp. 37-42, 1987 (in Japanese).
 Japanese Patent, No. 53-24600, “Non-reducing dielectric ceramic composition”, March 7, 1978 (in Japanese).
 U.S. Patent, No. 4115493, “Method for making monolithic ceramic capacitor employing non-reducing dielectric ceramic composition” September 19, 1978.
 D.M. Smith, “Multilayer ceramic capacitors with base metal electrodes”, in Proc. IEEE International Symp. on Applications of Ferroelectrics, pp. 369-373, 2000.
 Y. Sakabe, “Development of the multilayer ceramic capacitors with base metal electrode”, Abstract Book, the American Ceramic Association Society’s 100th Annual Meeting & Exposition, vol. 49, 1998.
 D.F.K. Hennings, “Multilayer ceramic capacitors with base metal electrodes”, Proc. IEEE International Symp. on Applications of Ferroelectrics, pp. 135-138, 2000.
Appendix 1： Reference  was written in Japanese, for which English summaries are briefed as follows: Noting that as compared with the material prices of Pd and Ag-Pd electrodes, that of Ni was almost 1/700 and 1/300, respectively, in the early 1980s, it turned out that the MLCC with Ni electrode (Ni-MLCC) extremely reduced the fabrication cost. In addition, Murata managed to acquire the new dielectric material made of BaTi3 ceramics with its composition BaO partly displaced by CaO, with which the Ni electrode could be co-sintered. Thus, by adopting this dielectric material Murata successfully embarked on the mass production of the new Ni-MLCCs in 1982.
Appendix 2: Reference  was written in Japanese, for which English summaries are briefed as follows: This patent describes the details of the method of non-reducing dielectric ceramic composition, by which Murata’s new Ni-MLCCs could be commercialized.
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