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 electrodes (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
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 .
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 . 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. 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 . 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 .
What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?
1. Obstacle to improving the quality of Ni-MLCCs:
As already stated, in the early 1970s the electrodes of MLCCs were still made of noble metals, mainly because when heated in air they were hard to be oxidized. The oil crisis suddenly caused in 1973 raised the prices of noble metals so radically that Murata soon intended to substitute the base metal of Ni for the noble metal electrode of MLCC. Owing to a great deal of persistent efforts spent for a decade, Murata managed to find a new Ca-doped, BaTiO3-based dielectric material to compose an MLCC with the Ni electrode, which gave birth to a longed-for Ni-MLCC. After repeated attempts for improving its performances, Murata finally succeeded in the enhancement of capacitance densities of Ni-MLCCs as shown in Fig. 2 .
2. Obstacle to maintaining the reliability:
The first years of the industrialization of base metal electrodes were characterized by a severe quality crisis. In the year 1979 the US company Centralab (Milwaukee, USA) launched the manufacture of ‘Y5V capacitors with base metal electrodes’, based on Mn(manganese)-acceptor doped mix crystals (Ba,Ca)(Ti,Zr)O3. Production and sale of these MLCCs had to be stopped rather soon, due to disastrous degradation of the insulation resistance . Motivated by this accident, Murata began to search for the possibility of developing more reliable MLCCs with base metal electrodes. Murata first focused on a base metal of Ni, and concentrated on developing an MLCC with this Ni electrode, until they successfully found a new MLCCs, whose BaTiO3-based dielectrics exhibited an excellent insulating property even if co-fired with the Ni electrode. Eventually, Murata’s new MLCCs with Ni electrodes could maintain all specific qualities over a period.
What features set this work apart from similar achievements?
1. Unique device qualities of the new Ni-MLCCs:
As already stated, by making persistent efforts not only to reduce the dielectric/electrode thickness but also to augment the number of layers, therefor the capacitance densities, Murata could produce a large variety of Ni-MLCCs as shown in Fig. 2  (e.g. the latest capacitor sizes are ranging between 0.25x0.125x0.125 [mm] and 5.7x5.0x5.0 [mm]). Thus, noting that as of 2019 the material price of Ni became less than 1/1000 of that of Ag/Pd, it can be seen that Murata has greatly contributed to enhancing the capacitance densities as well as to saving the fabrication expenses of Ni-MLCCs.
2. Contribution to users’ convenience:
Due to Murata's persistent efforts dedicated to the capacitance enhancement and the reduction of fabrication expenses of the Ni-MLCCs, the application fields of Ni-MLCCs have been extensively expanded not only to industrial/medical use, but also to commercial use, especially for home appliances, PCs, cameras, internet devices, wearable devices, mobile devices, etc. Moreover, seeing that more than 1000 Ni-MLCCs are now incorporated in only one smart phone, it can be fairly accepted that Murata’s Ni-MLCCs contributed greatly not only to the miniaturization of electronic equipment but also to the reduction of prices of living necessaries, and therefore to users’ convenience.
3. Contribution to industrial demands:
In the year 1979 the US company Centralab launched the manufacture of MLCCs with base metal electrodes, which caused a serious accident of disastrous degradation in the insulation resistance . In contrast, Murata provided a large variety of Ni-MLCCs, for which not only the reduction of the dielectric/electrode thickness but also the enhancement of the capacitance densities, was pursued to the limit, as can be seen from Fig. 2 . Therefore, the industrial demands for these Ni-MLCCs grew to such an extent that an immense amount of Murata’s Ni-MLCCs were embedded entirely in electronics devices, until Murata 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.
 D.F.K. Hennings, “Multilayer ceramic capacitors with base metal electrodes”, Proc. IEEE International Symp. on Applications of Ferroelectrics, pp. 135-138, 2000.
 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, “Multilayer ceramic capacitors”, Ceramics, vol. 32, pp. 584-587, 1997 (in Japanese).
 Y. Sakabe and H. Seno, “Method for making monolithic ceramic capacitor employing non-reducing dielectric ceramic composition”, U.S. Patent 4,115,493, September 19, 1978.
 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.
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 electrode was almost 1/700 and 1/300, respectively, in the late 1980s, Murata believed that the MLCC with Ni electrode could reduce extremely the fabrication expense. Hence, through great efforts spent for years, Murata managed to attain 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 succeeded in embarking on the mass production of the new Ni-MLCCs in 1982.
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