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What are Monolithic ceramic capacitors & Their Functions

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The article will discuss what are monolithic ceramic capacitors, their types & how can we identify them. It also covers the functions of the Chip Monolithic Ceramic capacitors.

There are mainly two types of capacitors used in the electronics industry i.e monolithic ceramic capacitor and an electrolytic capacitor. As the name indicates Monolithic ceramic capacitor is a ceramic capacitor that is constructed in one piece.

Monolithic ceramic capacitors are small devices with an outer oxide coating, which are used for their relative stability, the precision of value, and impulsive voltage suppression.

What are Monolithic ceramic capacitors?

The monolithic ceramic capacitor ( MLCC ) is a high-frequency capacitor used in many electronics today. As the name suggests, these components are manufactured from one piece of material baked to form a solid block, much like an integrated circuit. They consist of two metal end pieces that form the outer leads and a ceramic body that acts as the dielectric.

The word monolithic refers to the single-component structure of the capacitor. There are no wire leads connected with it, ceramic acts as an insulator which makes it unidirectional. Ceramic has a high specific resistance, dielectric constant, and loss tangent comparatively speaking metals.

Because of these properties, MLCC has high accuracy and reliability. MLCC was invented by Kyocera corporation in 1984, firstly it was used for a ceramic capacitor (type of capacitor) but now it is also used as a current sensor called TCSC (Tantalum-Ceramic- Complementary Sensor ).

Nowadays, manufacturers use MLCC in many devices, such as mobile phones, digital cameras, etc.

In 1984 Kyocera Corporation invented the monolithic ceramic capacitor (MLCC) and brought about a revolution in the industry by substantially raising capacitance values and tolerances to meet customer needs.

Types of Monolithic ceramic capacitors

Today there are two types of MLCCs. They are:

  1. Multilayer chip and
  2. Solid tantalum (STC).

Multilayer chip capacitor is much smaller and reliable than solid tantalum. The electrodes of the monolithic ceramic capacitor ( MLCC ) are made from metal, usually aluminum or gold alloys, and can provide very low resistance and high reliability.

The ends of the electrode corresponding to the two terminals: Capacitance values are higher in the case of multilayer ceramic capacitors than in solid tantalum capacitors.

Identifying monolithic ceramic capacitor

Many people are surprised to learn that some ceramic chip capacitors (e.g., MKT) are actually monolithic, i.e., they consist of a single piece of ceramic material and these can be much larger than the chips, but there is still no visible metal in them because all terminals and electrodes are made up from metallization on one side only.

It is usually difficult to identify monolithic capacitor types because manufacturers use mostly numeric codes stamped on the capacitors. Sometimes, stamped letters could show what voltage class or temperature grade is required for a particular type of capacitor. But sometimes no letter code shows this information even if it is present – so one should follow what clues are available.

The easiest way to find out whether a capacitor is a monolithic ceramic type, you can use your finger and touch the capacitor’s leads (while it’s installed into PCB/ SOIC8). If you feel that leads are made from metal, then most likely that leads are connected to each other inside the chip; therefore, the chip itself cannot be an MKT type.

Some real-world examples of numeric stamped codes on ceramic capacitors: 582, 683, ….. (approximate values).

It happens once in a while that there are some “fake” markings on the capacitor with no relation to its true value or type/ manufacturer – so it is always a good idea to double-check what you found with capacitor catalogs.

Functions of Chip Monolithic Ceramic capacitors

In the past, ceramic capacitors were not available in chip form. However, today’s modern manufacturing processes create large monolithic ceramic capacitor sheets from which individual chips are cut. It is this fact that enables one to achieve a wide variety of chip capacitor values within a very small volume or “footprint” on a circuit board.

A common application for the use of ceramic chip capacitors is in high-frequency circuits such as RF and FSK (Frequency Shift Keying) circuits where they serve to provide a low impedance path between stages, resulting in an accurate reproduction of the transmitted or received digital information.

In today’s world, many devices have been created that require electronic components that have extraordinary functions. In order to get the functions that are needed some circuits must become more complicated than they already are. This is why ceramic chip capacitors became popular because now you can place these chips in the circuit and it makes the circuit work better for what you want it to do.

Ceramic chip capacitors have many different uses today. The most common use of these types of capacitors is in high-frequency areas where the capacitor needs to be able to work very quickly. Another popular use for these types of capacitors was in power supplies where the function of the capacitor was to provide power at a steady voltage level which would allow devices to run properly without fluctuating voltages inside them.


These capacitors are a cost-effective solution for a variety of applications in the electronics industry. The monolithic ceramic capacitor is a cost-effective solution for a wide range of applications in the electronic industry. It is a type of capacitor that consists of a single ceramic cylinder with two conducting metal plates (anode and cathode) separated by an insulating material, usually paper.

Rayhan Sarwar

I am a glass and ceramic engineering student at the Rajshahi University of Engineering & Technology (RUET). I enjoy exploring science and technology, which is why I chose to study engineering!

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