IEEE Milestone: The Floating Gate EEPROM


Milestone: The Floating Gate EEPROM, 1976 – 1978

Dedication Date: August 20, 2012

EPROM, EEPROM, Flash EEPROM, NOR Flash and NAND Flash are non-volatile memory technologies that were introduced between 1970 and 1987. While at Hughes Microelectronics, Eli Harari showed that thin SiO2 films (of about 100 Å) were an efficient and reliable electron conduction mechanism for both program and erase, and in fact allowed for the electrically-erasable floating gate EEPROM in 1976 (Ref. 3) as compared with the ultra-violet-erasable floating gate EPROM of 1970. The importance of this discovery continues to this day with thin SiO2 film being an essential characteristic of both NOR Flash and NAND Flash.

For more information on this Milestone, see the ‎IEEE Milestone webpage.



“From 1976-1978, at Hughes Microelectronics in Newport Beach, California, the practicality, reliability, manufacturability and endurance of the Floating Gate EEPROM — an electrically erasable device using a thin gate oxide and Fowler-Nordheim tunneling for writing and erasing — was proven. As a significant foundation of data storage in flash memory, this fostered new classes of portable computing and communication devices which allow ubiquitous personal access to data.”

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