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Five Fujitsu Semiconductor engineers, who developed ferroelectric memory used in smart cards and smart meter authentication devices, have won the 60th Okochi Memorial Technology Prize. The award ceremony was held on March 26, 2014 at the Industry club Japan in Tokyo.
The Okochi Prizes were established in honor of Dr. Masatoshi Okochi, who was the third president of the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (known as RIKEN) and made great contributions to both the academic and the industrial communities in Japan. The prizes are awarded every year to individuals or groups for their noteworthy achievements on industrial engineering or manufacturing technologies.
Smart cards and mobile devices, which have gained popularity since the 1990's, have long required memories that store the data even when the power is switched off (non-volatility), operate at low power in high speed and have high write-erase cycle endurance. Ferroelectric Random Access Memory, or FRAM, meets these requirements, but the efforts to develop technology, in both Japan and the United States, to manufacture the memory using the conventional semiconductor process had not been successful. Oxide ferroelectric material used in the FRAMs is reduced by hydrogen gas which is generated during the conventional semiconductor process, and the reaction causes the degradation of the ferroelectricity. Fujitsu Semiconductor developed technology that could prevent the ferroelectricity degradation for the first time in the world, and made the volume production of FRAMs possible. It also developed read-write circuits that are optimized for the characteristics of the ferroelectric capacitors, enabling high memory density and low voltage operation. Today, leveraging the superior characteristics in write-erase cycle endurance, write speed, and power consumption, FRAMs are utilized in many applications such as smart cards, authentication devices, electronic tags and others.
Award recipients (left to right)
Naoya Sashida, FRAM Process Engineering Dept.,
Takashi Eshita, Director, Process Technology Div.,
Amane Inoue, Corporate Senior Vice President, Head of The Business Unit,
Shoichiro Kawashima, Senior Director, System Memory Business Div.,
Keizo Morita, FRAM Memory and RFID Design Dept.
Recipients receiving certificate and medals of Okochi Memorial Prize
The medals of Okochi Memorial Prize.
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