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Oscillators provide widest RF to consumer apps

Posted: 10 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:oscillator? CMOS? consumer application?

With an objective to replace crystal oscillators, Silicon Laboratories Inc. has ventured into the consumer timing market with the release of the Si500 silicon oscillators. Touted as the industry's highest stability 100 percent CMOS oscillator, the Si500 family is believed to offer the widest frequency range, largest selection of differential and single-ended clock formats, total low-power use and the lowest jitter of any oscillator used at high-volume consumer equipment such as digital still cameras, camcorders, printers, PC peripherals, LCDs, servers and storage applications.

The oscillator draws away the quartz resonator that must be in sync for each frequency, replacing it with an ultralow phase noise silicon oscillator manufactured using standard, high-volume IC manufacturing processes capable of generating any output frequency from 0.9MHz to 200MHz.

"By getting rid of the mechanical resonator used for frequency generation, the Si500 can provide high immunity to shock and vibration that plagues traditional crystal oscillators," said Silicon Labs. It is reportedly the first silicon oscillator in the industry to support differential clock outputs (low-voltage positive emitter-coupled logic, LVDS and host clock signalling level) in addition to CMOS and stub series terminated logic formats. It is believed to be the industry's sole oscillator supporting a dual-output CMOS format mode wherein a single device can produce two output clocks at the same frequency, drawing away the need for external clock buffers.

"At the same time, the devices are factory programmed and shipped to customers six times faster than common oscillators, cutting lead times from up to 12 weeks to two weeks," said Silicon Labs.

"Using innovative, mixed-signal analog circuitry, the oscillator is compensated for frequency variation due to operating temperature range, initial frequency accuracy, supply voltage change and output load change. The Si500 also represents breakthrough technology as the industry's first silicon oscillator that offers temperature stability at par with crystal oscillators," the company added. The product family supports frequency stability options ranging from 100ppm to 150ppm, providing drop-in compatibility with quartz-based oscillators.

The silicon oscillators have low-power operation of 3.3V, 2.5V or 1.8V, and 1.5ps RMS phase jitter and 2ps RMS period jitter (max). The Si500 is available in either a 4-pad or 6-pad, 3.2mm x 4mm DFN package.

-Gina Roos

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