Proprietary CMEMS-ZeroThermal Technology Matches Quartz-Crystal Performance and Efficiency

Silicon Clocks, a leading developer of custom semiconductor timing solutions, today announced its breakthrough CMEMS-ZeroThermal™ passive temperature compensation technology, a critical step toward making quartz crystals obsolete. MEMS resonators enabled by Silicon Clocks' CMEMS-ZeroThermal™ technology exhibit comparable temperature stability to quartz crystals, while drastically simplifying oscillator design, and reducing power and circuit size.

First-generation MEMS oscillator solutions use resonators whose frequency varies quickly in response to temperature variations—typically in the 15-30ppm/degC range. Quartz crystals exhibit a much lower sensitivity in the 0.25ppm to 1ppm range. In order to compensate for these wide frequency variations, traditional MEMS based oscillators rely on complex temperature sensing and typically, a power-hungry fractional-N synthesizer to keep adjusting the oscillator output frequency. Silicon Clocks has developed a completely passive (zero power; no dedicated electronic circuitry) mechanical temperature compensation method—improving 30x over other MEMS solutions to match quartz-crystal performance.

The CMEMS-ZeroThermal™ proprietary technology is based on a combination of manufacturing and design intellectual property perfected by the company. This technology is easy to implement, cheap to manufacture and has been demonstrated across a wide range of resonator designs from the low kilohertz to several hundred megahertz.

“Until now, MEMS technology could not compete for ultra-low-power sleep clock applications,” said Silicon Clocks CEO Didier Lacroix. “Silicon Clocks has carefully planned its technology development to leapfrog over solutions in the market. Our CMEMS-ZeroThermal™ addresses traditional MEMS limitations to enable next generation, high-accuracy, integrated solutions with improved power and reduced footprint compared with quartz crystal.”

“The CMEMS-ZeroThermal™ technology is a major achievement—drastically increasing the footprint for the company’s MEMS-based timing solutions across a wider range of applications from watches, to timing solutions with integrated low-power management, to the high-precision timing market traditionally serviced by quartz crystal,” said Mark Sherwood, Principal Associate at CS &A LLC, a market analyst and consultant focused on Semiconductor Timing.

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