Kioxia Earns Imperial Invention Prize from the 2020 National Commendation for Invention

September 24, 2020
Kioxia Corporation

Tokyo, September 24, 2020 – Kioxia Corporation, a world leader in memory solutions, announced today it was awarded the 2020 Imperial Invention Prize from the National Commendation for Invention for the company’s Invention of high Density 3D Flash Memory Device and Manufacturing Method Thereof (patent no. 5016832), which greatly increases memory capacity and decreases manufacturing costs.

The prize was organized by the Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation and demonstrates the importance of flash memory for data storage in applications ranging from smart phones to data centers. The National Commendation for Invention awards recognize outstanding inventions, ideas or designs that have achieved or are expected to achieve substantial results due to their excellence. The Imperial Invention Prize is the program’s highest-ranking award.

Awardees (Kioxia employee unless otherwise indicated)
Imperial Invention Prize:

  • Masaru Kito, Group Manager, Advanced Memory Development Center
  • Hideaki Aochi, Senior Expert, Institute of Memory Technology Research and Development
  • Ryota Katsumata, Assistant to General Manager, Advanced Memory Development Center
  • Masaru Kido, Chief Specialist, Memory Development Strategy Division
  • Hiroyasu Tanaka, Chief Specialist, Advanced Memory Development Center
  • Akihiro Nitayama (former Toshiba Corporation)

Implementation Achievement Award:
Nobuo Hayasaka, President and CEO

Kioxia’s three-dimensional flash memory technology has also been recognized with the 2019 Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister’s Prize in Local Commendation for Invention of Chubu, and received the 2021 IEEE Andrew S. Grove Award for pioneering and sustained contributions to high-density, three-dimensional flash memory.

Conventional two-dimensional flash memory technology arranges cells in a two-dimensional structure where the memory cell, the minimum unit for storing data, is placed in a planar direction. Miniaturizing memory cells increases the memory capacity per unit area, which enables greater capacity as well as lower production costs. However, miniaturization is approaching its physical limits.

Kioxia’s award-winning three-dimensional flash memory technology is a breakthrough approach that greatly simplified the fabrication process for stacking memory cells vertically to realize high-density 3D flash memory. Whereas conventional stacking required repeated deposition and patterning processes for memory cell array fabrication, this technology first stacks the materials for the memory cells and then makes each cell simultaneously using a one-time patterning process, thereby significantly reducing the processing steps.

High-capacity, high-performance three-dimensional flash memory is now the market’s leading technology. After commercializing 48-layer BiCS FLASH™, three-dimensional flash memory in 2015, Kioxia has gone on to mass-produce 64-layer and 96-layer extra-high-density versions.