File photo: Humanoid robot Seisaku-kun designed and developed by Murata Manufacturing.

Tokyo - Japanese electronics maker Murata Manufacturing has developed the world's tiniest version of a component known as the capacitor.

That's potentially big business. Capacitors, which store electric energy, are used in the dozens, even hundreds, in just about every type of gadget - smartphones, laptops, parts for hybrid cars, medical equipment and digital cameras. Smaller componentry allows for innovations and improvements from thinner devices to longer battery life.

The latest capacitor, measuring just 0.25 millimetre by 0.125 millimetre, is as tiny as the period at the end of this sentence.

Murata's focus on technological breakthroughs, such as the one announced Wednesday, underlines the challenges confronting Japan's electronics industry, taking a beating from cheaper Asian rivals. Murata is the world No. 1 in market share and production capacity in ceramic capacitors. - Sapa-AP