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:

1982

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, especially due to their expanding utility in computer/communication devices, industrial/medical equipment, and home appliances. 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?

Yes

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 Murata’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 monolayer disc/tube-type ceramic capacitors as shown in Fig. 1. The annual worldwide production of MLCCs has reached the level of 3 trillion units, most of which are produced with base-metal electrodes (cf. mainly made of Ni [nickel]), mainly because as compared with very expensive 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, using much cheaper base-metal electrodes in MLCCs [1, 2]. Recently the worldwide share of Murata’s Ni-MLCCs has reached 43%.

Historically, in addition to the discovery of the barium titanate (BaTiO3) ceramics in 1944, the 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 made of noble-metals, such as Pt, Pd, Ag/Pd, etc., mainly because when heated in air they were hard to be oxidized, and hence did not lose their electrical conductivities. 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 became evident that the substitution of the base-metal Ni for the Ag/Pd electrode would greatly reduce the production expenses of MLCCs.

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

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

The remarkable progress of the surface mount technology accelerated the industrial demands for MLCCs in the early 1970s, whose production expenses, however, soared sharply due to the 1973 oil crisis. Thus, in 1974 Murata focused on a 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 the Ni electrode from oxidation. Although efforts to accomplish this substitution of Ni for Ag/Pd had been made for years, the first successful realization of the 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-made 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, abbreviated to Ni-MLCCs [3].

3. Achievements of the commercialization of the new Ni-MLCCs:

Owing to the progress of both the surface mount technology and the miniaturization technology, in 1974 Murata initiated a diligent effort to reduce the dielectric/electrode thickness as well as to augment the number of layers, therefore the capacitance densities, of Ni-MLCCs, and eventually realized the quality improvement of Ni-MLCCs in the early 1980s, as can be seen from Fig. 2 [3]. Thus, the industrial demands for these Ni-MLCCs grew so dramatically that Murata gained a commanding lead in commercializing the new Ni-MLCCs. Thanks to Murata’s outstanding achievements of developing the 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 practical qualities of Ni-MLCCs:

In the early 1970s the electrodes of MLCCs were still made of very expensive noble-metals, mainly because when heated in air they were hard to be oxidized. The oil crisis caused in 1973, however, raised the prices of noble-metals so radically that Murata soon intended to substitute the base-metal Ni for the Ag/Pd electrode of MLCC. Through a great deal of persistent efforts spent for years, Murata managed to find that the use of an A-site rich, Ca-doped, BaTiO3-based formulation allowed MLCCs to be sintered in reducing atmospheres compatible with Ni electrodes [1], by which the enhancement of the capacitance densities of Ni-MLCCs could be realized 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 [1]. Motivated by this accident, Murata dedicated immense energy to developing more reliable MLCCs with base-metal electrodes. Specifically, Murata focused on a base-metal of Ni, and concentrated on developing an MLCC with this Ni electrode, until they successfully attained a new MLCCs, whose BaTiO3-based dielectrics exhibited excellent insulating properties even if co-fired with the Ni electrode. Eventually, Murata’s newly-made Ni-MLCCs could maintain all specific qualities over a validity period.

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. Distinctive properties of the Ni-MLCCs:

Through persistent efforts to reduce the dielectric/electrode thickness as well as to enhance the capacitance densities, Murata greatly improved the qualities of Ni-MLCCs as shown in Fig. 2 [3] (e.g. the present capacitor sizes are ranging between 0.25x0.125x0.125 [mm] and 5.7x5.0x5.0 [mm]). In addition, seeing that as of 2019 the material price of Ni became less than 1/1000 of that of Ag/Pd, it turned out that Murata contributed not only to enhancing the capacitance densities but also to saving the production expenses of the new Ni-MLCCs.

2. Contribution of the Ni-MLCCs to miniaturizing electronic components:

Owing to great efforts dedicated to enhancing the capacitance densities as well as to saving the production expenses of the new Ni-MLCCs, as stated above, Murata expanded their applicability to industrial/medical use as well as to commercial use, especially for home appliances, PCs, cameras, internet devices, mobile terminals, wearable devices, etc. Moreover, looking at the fact that more than 1000 Ni-MLCCs were incorporated even in a tiny smart phone, it could be fairly admitted that Murata’s Ni-MLCCs contributed greatly to miniaturizing electronic components.

3. Contribution of the Ni-MLCCs 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 [1]. In contrast, Murata managed to develop new 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 full extent possible, as can be seen from Fig. 2 [3]. Therefore, the industrial demands for these Ni-MLCCs grew so extensively that an immense amount of Murata’s Ni-MLCCs were embedded vastly in computer/communication devices, industrial/medical equipment, and home appliances, until Murata acquired the global lead in commercializing 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.

References

[1] D.F.K. Hennings, “Multilayer ceramic capacitors with base metal electrodes”, in Proc. IEEE International Symp. on Applications of Ferroelectrics, pp. 135-138, 2000.

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

[3] Y. Sakabe, “Multilayer ceramic capacitors”, Ceramics, vol. 32, pp. 584-587, 1997 (in Japanese).

[4] 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.

[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. 43, 1998.


Appendix

Reference [3] was written in Japanese, for which English summaries are briefed as follows:

Seeing 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 1960s, Murata was convinced that the production cost of the MLCC with Ni electrode could be made much less than that of the MLCC with Ag/Pd electrode. Hence, owing to great efforts spent for years, Murata managed to attain a new BaTiO3-based ceramic dielectrics, with which the Ni electrode could be co-sintered, and eventually embarked on the mass production of the new Ni-MLCCs in 1982.

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 ieee-history@ieee.org. Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.

Media:Proposal_of_MLCC'.pdf

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 ieee-history@ieee.org 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).