However, when we look at the commercial and automotive trends over the past 30 years, we can see major advancements in technology ranging from PCs, to laptops, cell phones, smart phones, electric vehicles, IoT, autonomous vehicles, and so on. Functionality and circuit density have increased exponentially over time, which means active and passive component size must decrease at the same pace.
In order to shrink the size of MLCCs, while maintaining the same capacitance values, dielectric layers must become as thin as possible. In fact, making MLCC layers thinner is the driving factor for increasing volumetric efficiency. Since MLCCs historically used PME technology, suppliers ran into limitations on how thin the dielectric could be made, while maintaining reliability.
Therefore, Base Metal Electrode (BME) technology was introduced in the early 2000s, which allowed suppliers to create much thinner layers, drastically increase volumetric efficiency, and decrease cost.
Today, BME MLCCs make up the overwhelming majority of MLCCs in used in the electronics industry. These also include many applications where reliability is critical. For example, the automotive industry has been using BME technology for over 15 years in applications such as ABD systems and airbags. The medical industry has been using BME MLCCs in instrumentation and implantable devices for over 10 years.