Milestone-Proposal:Commercialization of Multi-Layer Ceramic Capacitors with Nickel electrode (Ni-MLCCs), 1982.

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Docket #:2020-05

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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. commercialized Ni-MLCCs in 1982, and has since been the world’s leading manufacturer. Through remarkable innovations in capacitance enhancement, product miniaturization, and cost reduction, the annual worldwide production of Ni-MLCCs has reached the level of 3 trillion, mainly due to their expanding utility in computer/network devices, home appliances, and industrial equipment. Ni-MLCC is now 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

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Isao Shirakawa
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

1-10-1 Higashikotari, Nagaokakyo-shi, Kyoto, 617-8555 Japan ; N 34.923900, E 135.701899

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.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. corporate building: Head Office of Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd.

Are the original buildings extant?


Details of the plaque mounting:

The plaque will be displayed in the grand floor builging of the Head Office of Murata.

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

The plaque will be fixed on the wall of the main entrance of the Head Office, which can be accessible to the public with permission.

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd.

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)?

The historical significance of Murata’s commercialization of Ni-MLCCs is briefed as follows.

1. Historical background of Morita’s commercialization of Ni-MLCCs:

Presently, Multi-Layer Ceramic Capacitors (MLCCs) are made of alternating layers of metallic inner electrodes and dielectric ceramics, with their capacitance densities ascending distinctively as compared with those of the traditional single-layer disc/tube type ceramic capacitors, as shown in Fig. 1, and their annual worldwide production has reached the level of 3 trillion units. Most of MLCCs are now produced with base metal electrodes (cf. mainly made of Ni [nickel]), because in comparison with noble metal electrodes (cf. mainly made of Pt [platinum], Pd [palladium], or Ag[silver]/Pd [i.e. Ag70Pd30 alloy]), cost savings can be greatly obtained, employing much cheaper base metal electrodes in MLCCs [1, 2, 3]

Historically, the discovery of the barium titanate (BaTiO3) ceramics with high dielectric constant in 1944 in addition to the remarkable progress of the surface mount technology, triggered the development of a series of MLCCs in the late 1960s through the early 1970s. At this early stage the electrodes of MLCCs were mostly made of noble metals, such as Pt, Pd, Ag/Pd, etc. Although the MLCC with Ag/Pd electrode was the cheapest of all MLCCs, the material prices of both Ag and Pd were skyrocketing due to the 1973 oil crisis, and hence it turned out that the utilization of a much cheaper base metal of Ni for the electrode would greatly contribute to the cost saving of fabricating MLCCs.

However, there was a big drawback in employing Ni for the electrode, such that when co-fired with dielectrics in air Ni was oxidized and lost its electrical conductivity. Hence, in 1974 the Murata Manufacturing Co. intended to seek a solution for developing a new dielectric material to realize an MLCC with Ni electrode [3].

2. Development of new MLCCs with BaTiO3-based dielectrics and Ni electrodes:

The dramatic progress of the surface mount technology accelerated the industrial demands for MLCCs in the early 1970s, whose fabrication expenses, however, jumped up sharply due to the 1973 oil crisis. Thus, in 1974 Murata focused on a much cheaper base metal of Ni in substitution for the Ag/Pd electrode, and started the search for a dielectric ceramic to compose an MLCC with this Ni electrode. A major problem of using Ni for the electrode was that the MLCC had to be fired in a reducing atmosphere to protect Ni from oxidation. Although efforts to accomplish this substitution of Ni for Ag/Pd had been made for many years, the first successful realization of MLCCs with Ni electrodes at significant production rates was achieved by Murata in the early 1980s [2]. Specifically, it was found that the use of an A-site rich, Ca-doped, BaTiO3-based formulation allowed the MLCCs to be sintered in reducing atmospheres compatible with Ni electrodes [2, 3, 4]. Confirming that the newly developed dielectrics could exhibit excellent insulating properties even if co-sintered with Ni electrodes, in 1982 Murata decided to embark on the mass production of the new MLCCs with BaTiO3-based dielectrics and Ni electrodes, henceforth abbreviated to Ni-MLCCs [3].

3. Achievements of commercializing the new Ni-MLCCs:

Owing to the remarkable progress of both the surface mount technology and the miniaturization technology, Murata initiated a massive effort to carry out not only the reduction of dielectric/ electrode thickness but also the enhancement of the number of layers, therefore the capacitance densities, and successfully improved the practical qualities of Ni-MLCCs, as shown in Fig. 2 [3]. Thus, the industrial demands for these Ni-MLCCs grew so drastically that Murata eventually built up a commanding lead in the commercialization of the Ni-MLCCs. Thanks to Murata’s outstanding achievements of producing these new Ni-MLCCs, Mr. Yukio 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 [5].

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 [6]. 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 [5]. .

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 [6], 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 [5].

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.


[1] Y. Sakabe, “Nickel electrode ceramic capacitor”, Electronic Semiconductor, vol. 7. pp. 37-42, 1987 (in Japanese).

[2] Japanese Patent, No. 53-24600, “Non-reducing dielectric ceramic composition”, March 7, 1978 (in Japanese).

[3] U.S. Patent, No. 4115493, “Method for making monolithic ceramic capacitor employing non-reducing dielectric ceramic composition” September 19, 1978.

[4] D.M. Smith, “Multilayer ceramic capacitors with base metal electrodes”, in Proc. IEEE International Symp. on Applications of Ferroelectrics, pp. 369-373, 2000.

[5] 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.

[6] 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 [1] 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 [2] 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.

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.


Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).