MEMS Based Oscillators Outperform Quartz-Based Oscillators

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SiTime’s MEMS Oscillators, VCXO, and TCXO long term aging and jitter performance are comparable to, or better than, quartz-based oscillators. As you can see, the performance barrier has been shattered.SiTime’s MEMS oscillators simplify system designs and open the door to new applications.

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MEMS Based Oscillators Outperform Quartz-Based Oscillators

  1. 1. MEMS Based Oscillators Outperform Quartz-Based OscillatorsPrecision clock sources such as an XTAL, XO, VCXO, or TCXO require some type of resonator in orderto supply an accurate, specific frequency. For decades, cost-effective clock sources have beenmanufactured with a quartz-crystal slice as the resonator element. That is, a precision quartz-crystal sliceis machined, polished, and plated such that it resonates at a specific frequency. The crystal is thenpackaged together with a CMOS IC that provides the sustaining circuit and a logic-compatible output.Though this approach has been main-stream for the last 80+ years, there are many limitations that clocksystem designers have been forced to live with simply due to the lack of any other alternative in themarket. That is, until now!There has been significant progress in the MEMS (Micro-Electromechanical Systems) oscillatoralternative. As a result, the quartz-based oscillator has a new and significant competitor. One MEMSstart-up innovator making an impact in the precision timing space is SiTime Corporation. SiTime’s all-silicon MEMS oscillators have been able meet or exceed the performance of quartz-based oscillators andovercome quartz-based limitations. A basic key feature of any oscillator is frequency stability. Whencomparing standard oscillators, also called XO, the SiTime SiT8208 and SiT8209 guarantees less than10 ppm (parts-per-million) over the -40°C to +85°C operating temperature range. This represents a 2x(100%) performance improvement compared to the crystal-based 20 ppm alternative. Similarly, theSiTime SiT5001 TCXO family features 0.5 ppm stability over the -40°C to +85°C operating temperaturerange. This represents a 5x (400%) improvement compared to a 0.5 ppm crystal-based TCXO. And last,SiTime’s MEMS Oscillators, VCXO, and TCXO long term aging and jitter performance are comparable to,or better than, quartz-based oscillators. As you can see, the performance barrier has been shattered.SiTime’s MEMS oscillators simplify system designs and open the door to new applications. First,standard crystal-based oscillators do not operate at frequencies beyond approximately 70 MHz. Beyondthat frequency, crystal oscillators use different techniques that sacrifice accuracy (such as SurfaceAcoustic Wave (SAW) oscillators) and reliability (Overtone Mode). SiTime’s single-ended LVTTL/CMOScompatible oscillators operate at any frequency up to 220 MHz without any frequency holes and thedifferential oscillator family expands the frequency to 800 MHz. Second, crystal-based oscillators cannotsupport any frequency that the customer may want. Instead, they are available in standard, pre-setfrequencies already defined by the cut of the crystal. Any non-standard frequency requires the crystaloscillator manufacturer to develop a new device and make it manufacturable in higher volumes, and thelead time for the non-standard frequency is typically 16-weeks. As a result, the high selling price isusually prohibitive for mid-to-high volume applications. This limitation goes away with the MEMS-basedapproach. SiTime’s oscillators are all programmable to any frequency within their operating range aspreviously described, samples are shipped within 48 hours, and the price is similar to any standardfrequency.And last, MEMS-based oscillators are significantly more rugged and reliable. Shock and vibration are twostandard figures of merit. SiTime’s MEMS-based oscillators feature 50,000 G and 70 G tolerance toshock and vibration, respectively. This represents a 7-10x improvement compared to crystal-basedoscillators with their shock and vibration tolerance of only 5,000 G and 10 G, respectively.In summary, the SiTime’s MEMS-based oscillators meet or exceed the performance of crystal-basedoscillators plus they include the advantages of any frequency between 1-to-800 MHz without any deliverydelay, improved reliability, and no price premium for non-standard frequencies!Learn more about :-, Differential Oscillator , Silicon Oscillator

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