Milestone-Proposal:Commercialization of multi-layer ceramic capacitors with nickel electrode (Ni-MLCCs), 1982.

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Docket #:

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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, according as their utility is expanding 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: Toshinaru 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):

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.

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Details of the plaque mounting:

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

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 quality in 1944 trig-gered the development of a series of multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs), such as those with Pt (platinum), Pd (palladium), and Ag (silver)-Pd electrodes, in the 1960s through the early 1970s mainly for military and industrial use because of their extremely high material prices. Although the MLCC with Ag-Pd electrode was the cheapest of all MLCCs at that time, the 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, Murata began to develop a new MLCC with a base metal electrode in 1974.

2. Selection of Ni for electrode and development of new MLCCs: Murata first focused on nickel (Ni) as a feasible candidate for the electrode of MLCC because of its very low price, and then tried to develop a dielectric material to compose MLCC with this Ni electrode, until in 1975 Murata successfully acquired the new dielectrics made of BaTiO3 ceramics with its composition BaO partly displaced by CaO [1]. Through fabrication reformations [2, 3], Murata attained newly-made dielectrics which exhibited an excellent insulating performance even if co-sintered with Ni electrode. Eventually, in 1982 Murata embarked on the mass production, therefore the commercialization, of the new MLCCs with Ni electrode (Ni-MLCCs) [1].

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 dramatically that Murata eventually 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 [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 diffi-culty, Murata tried to increase the capacitance density of Ni-MLCC not only by reducing the di-electric/electrode thickness but also by augmenting the number of layers [4]. Eventually, in 1982 Murata successfully embarked on the mass production of the new Ni-MLCCs.

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 reliable Ni-MLCCs, until they successfully attained new Ni-MLCCs after repeated improvements, in which the dielectrics displayed an excellent insulating performance even if co-fired with the Ni electrode [5]. Thus Murata’s new Ni-MLCCs exhibited their high insulation characteristics. .

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. After numbers of attempts for reducing the dielectric/electrode thickness as well as for augmenting the number of layers, Murata managed to enhance the capacitance of the new Ni-MLCC [1]. 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 terminals, etc. Now that more than 1000 Ni-MLCCs can be embedded in only one smart phone, it can be seen that Ni-MLCCs have greatly contributed to the miniaturization and cost reduction of numerous mobile terminals, 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 quality of insulation charac-teristics for a long period [5]. Hence, the industrial demands for the new Ni-MLCCs increased so drastically that the market scale was extensively expanded, and hence Murata has attained 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.

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