Fujio Masuoka

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Fujio Masuoka (舛岡 富士雄)
BornMay 8, 1943 (1943-05-08) (age 75)
Known forFlash memory
AwardsIEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award
Scientific career
FieldsElectrical engineering MARACO

Fujio Masuoka (舛岡 富士雄, Masuoka Fujio, born May 8, 1943) is a Japanese engineer, best known as the inventor of flash memory.[1] He attended Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, where he earned an undergraduate degree in engineering in 1966 and doctorate in 1971.[2] He joined Toshiba in 1971. There he also developed stacked-gate avalanche-injection metal–oxide–semiconductor (SAMOS) memory. Masuoka was excited mostly by the idea of non-volatile memory, memory that would last even when power was turned off. The electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) of the time took very long to erase. He developed the "floating gate" technology that could be erased much faster. He filed a patent in 1981 along with Hisakazu Iizuka.[3] His colleague Shoji Ariizumi suggested the word "flash" because the erasure process reminded him of the flash of a camera.[4] The results (with capacity of only 8192 bytes) were published in 1984, and became the basis for flash memory technology of much larger capacities.[5][6]

Toshiba gave Masuoka a small bonus for the invention, but it was American company Intel which made billions of dollars in sales on related technology. He became a professor at Tohoku University in 1994.[7] Masuoka received the 1997 IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.[8] In 2005 Masuoka became the chief technical officer of Unisantis Electronics aiming to develop a three-dimensional transistor.[2] In 2006, he settled a lawsuit with Toshiba for ¥87m (about US$758,000).[9] He has been suggested as a potential candidate for the Nobel Prize in Physics, along with Robert H. Dennard who invented dynamic random-access memory.[10]


  1. ^ Jeff Katz (September 21, 2012). "Oral History of Fujio Masuoka" (PDF). Computer History Museum. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Company profile". Unisantis-Electronics (Japan) Ltd. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  3. ^ "Semiconductor memory device and method for manufacturing the same". US Patent 4531203 A. November 13, 1981. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  4. ^ Detlev Richter (2013). Flash Memories: Economic Principles of Performance, Cost and Reliability. Springer Science and Business Media. pp. 5–6. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-6082-0. ISBN 978-94-007-6081-3.
  5. ^ F. Masuoka, M. Asano, H. Iwahashi, T. Komuro and S. Tanaka (December 9, 1984). "A new flash E2PROM cell using triple polysilicon technology". International Electronic Devices Meeting. IEEE. doi:10.1109/IEDM.1984.190752.
  6. ^ "A 256K Flash EEPROM using Triple Polysilicon Technology" (PDF). IEEE historic photo repository. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  7. ^ Benjamin Fulford (June 24, 2002). "Unsung hero". Forbes. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  8. ^ "IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award Recipients". Archived from the original on June 6, 2008. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  9. ^ Tony Smith (July 31, 2006). "Toshiba settles spat with Flash memory inventor: Boffin gets ¥87m but wanted ¥1bn". The Register. Retrieved March 20, 2017.
  10. ^ Kristin Lewotsky (July 2, 2013). "Why Does the Nobel Prize Keep Forgetting Memory?". EE Times. Retrieved March 20, 2017.