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Development of high-reliability technologies for Ferroelectric Random Access Memory and its mass-production

November 21, 2014

Two FUJITSU SEMICONDUCTOR LIMITED (FSL) engineers, Takashi Eshita and Shoichiro Kawashima, and the Vice President of FSL, Shigeo Kashiwagi, have won the 14th Yamazaki-Teiich Prize in the field of semiconductors and semiconductor devices for developing the reliability technologies of ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) used in smart cards and authentication devices. The award ceremony was held on November 21th 2014 at the Japan Academy in Ueno, Tokyo.
Smart cards and mobile devices, which have gained popularity since the 1990s, require memories that store data even when the power is switched off (non-volatility), operate at low power in high speed, and have high write-read cycle endurance. Ferroelectric Random Access Memory, or FRAM, meets these requirements but efforts to develop technology to manufacture the memory using the conventional semiconductor process in Japan, Korea and the United States have previously been unsuccessful because the mass-production technologies for FRAM were not mature. 
Eshita and Kashiwagi developed technologies to prevent the degradation of ferroelectric materials caused by hydrogen, which is generated in the FRAM fabrication process.  This involves employing a newly developed protection layer.  Kawashima developed the read-write circuits optimized to the characteristics of ferroelectric capacitors, enabling high memory density and low voltage operation.  Their technological developments have drastically enhanced the reliability of FRAM, resulting in high density FRAM having a guaranteed 10-year usage. 
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.
Ymazaki winners photo (FRAM)Prize recipients (from left to right)
Shigeo Kashiwagi, Member of the Board and Corporate Senior Executive Vice President
Takashi Eshita, Director, System Memory Business Div.
Shoichiro Kawashima, Senior Director, System Memory Business Div.
Yamazaki CertificateA certificate of the Yamazaki-Teiichi Prize