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Silicon Labs touts single-die alternative to quartz crystals

Posted: 28 Jun 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MEMS? CMOS? oscillators?

Silicon Laboratories, through its 2010 acquisition Silicon Clocks, has been developing a single-die solution that allows MEMS oscillators to be fabricated atop a CMOS chip in any standard foundry. Its new Si50x family of CMEMS oscillators claim to be the world's first single-die alternative to quartz crystals.

Silicon Labs' CMEMS technology, of which the Si50x is the first family, combines a MEMS resonator atop its frequency control circuitry on a single CMOS die, enabling standard foundries to produce the CMEMS oscillators on their high-volume fabrication lines.

Silicon Labs CMEMS

Figure 1: CMEMS marries silicon's scalability and the stability of MEMS.

Silicon Labs is targeting its CMEMS oscillators at mass market applications including digital cameras, storage and memory devices, ATM machines, point-of-sale equipment and multi-function printers.

To guarantee supplies, CMEMS oscillators are currently fabricated on the massive line at Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC)the same Chinese foundry used by Broadcom, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.

Expanding on research originally started at UC Berkeley, the patented CMEMS integration technique for fabricating a MEMS oscillator atop an already finished CMOS chip was conceived by Silicon Clocks founder Emmanuel Quevynow MEMS Engineering Director at Silicon Labsand his team. Over the last three years, Quevy and his MEMS engineering team collaborated with Silicon Labs' CMOS teams to integratedSilicon Clock's CMEMS technology with Silicon Labs' existing timing product lines.

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