Silicon replaces crystal in oscillators

09 September 2008

A family of silicon oscillators replaces crystal ones and offers advantages over MEMS oscillators.

The Si500 has a wide frequency range from 0.9MHz to 200MHz and has a selection of differential and single-ended clock formats. It boasts a low operating voltage of 3.3V, 2.5V and 1.8V and, at 1.5ps RMS phase jitter and 2ps RMS period jitter, it claims to have the industry’s lowest jitter of an oscillator targeted at high volume applications.

Use of the Si500 eliminates the quartz resonator that must be cut and tuned for each frequency. Silicon Labs replaces this with an ultra-low phase noise silicon oscillator manufactured using standard IC manufacturing processes that can generate the output frequencies. Without the mechanical resonator, the oscillator has high immunity to shock and vibration, claims the company. Oscillators support frequency options from ±100 to ±150ppm, for drop-in compatibility with quartz-based oscillators.

Target applications are digital still cameras, camcorder, printers, PC peripherals, LCDs, servers and storage applications.

The scaleable architecture can be used to synthesis any frequency and can reduce packaging costs, as there is no costly, hermetically-sealed package, the oscillator uses a standard plastic case.

The oscillators supports a variety of output formats, i.e., CMOS, LVPECL, LVDS, HCSL and SSTL. Dual output CMOS clock oscillators, producing two clocks at the same frequency, are also available.

The quart-free, all-silicon oscillator has a core power of 8mA, a total supply current of 11mA for LVDS, around 16mA for CMOS and up to 28mA for the LVPECL version. Current is 17mA at power down. These compare favourably, says the company, with CMOS quartz ratings of five to 70mA.

Four or six-pad, 3.2mm x 4mm dual flat no-lead packages are available. Lead times have been reduced to just two weeks.

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