Silicon Labs Introduces the Industry’s First Single-Die MEMS Oscillator

New Si50x CMEMS® Oscillators Leap Ahead of Quartz-Based Timing Devices with Superior Frequency Stability, Reliability and Programmability

AUSTIN, Texas — (BUSINESS WIRE) — June 26, 2013Silicon Labs (NASDAQ: SLAB), a leader in high-performance, analog-intensive, mixed-signal ICs, today introduced the industry’s most highly integrated MEMS-based oscillators designed to replace general-purpose crystal oscillators (XOs) in cost-sensitive, low-power and high-volume industrial, embedded and consumer electronics applications such as digital cameras, storage and memory, ATM machines, point-of-sale equipment and multi-function printers. The new Si50x oscillators are based on Silicon Labs’ patented CMEMS® technology – the first to enable MEMS structures to be built directly on top of standard CMOS wafers in high-volume fabs, resulting in fully integrated, highly reliable monolithic “CMOS+MEMS” IC solutions.

Silicon Labs’ Si50x CMEMS oscillator family achieves smaller size, higher reliability, better aging and higher integration than existing frequency control solutions through a patented monolithic architecture that integrates the MEMS resonator together with the CMOS oscillator circuitry on a single die. The benefits of this unprecedented CMOS+MEMS integration combined with Silicon Labs’ proven mixed-signal expertise are transformational for the frequency control industry:

  • CMEMS oscillators are manufactured in a high-volume CMOS fab with unified foundry lines that support wafer probing of complete oscillator systems for state-of-the-art quality and process control.
  • CMEMS technology enables guaranteed data sheet performance with 10 years of frequency stability including solder shift, load pulling, VDD variation, operating temperature range, vibration and shock. This guaranteed operating life performance is 10 times longer than typically offered by comparable crystal and MEMS oscillators.
  • CMEMS oscillators tightly couple the MEMS resonator with CMOS temperature sensor and compensation circuitry, ensuring a highly stable frequency output in the face of thermal transients and over the full industrial temperature range. The end result is a predictable, reliable frequency reference over the long operating lifespans of industrial and embedded applications.
  • CMEMS resonators are passively compensated, using materials with offsetting temperature behaviors in the design. This enables Silicon Labs to apply its innovative mixed-signal circuit design expertise to create smaller, lower power and more cost-effective oscillators while ensuring excellent frequency and temperature stability and aging performance.

The Si50x CMEMS oscillators support any frequency between 32 kHz and 100 MHz. Frequency stability options include ±20, ±30 and ±50 ppm across extended commercial (-20 to 70 oC) and industrial (-40 to 85 oC) operating temperature ranges. The CMEMS oscillators also offer extensive field- and factory-programmable features including low-power and low-period jitter modes, programmable rise/fall times and polarity-configurable output-enable functionality.

The Si50x CMEMS oscillator family frees customers from supply chain problems that are typical for traditional quartz-based solutions. The Si50x oscillators are manufactured at Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), one of the world’s leading semiconductor foundries and the largest, most advanced foundry in mainland China. This strategic foundry relationship increases manufacturing and supply predictability through the benefits of massive scale and quality control. Because CMEMS oscillators are integrated, monolithic ICs, they are packaged in widely produced, molded-compound 4-pin packages, again ensuring a predictable and reliable supply chain.

“The timing market has reached an inflection point in which the latest-generation MEMS-based oscillators are capable of providing reliable, cost-effective replacements for traditional crystal oscillators,” said Jeremie Bouchaud, director and senior principal analyst, MEMS and Sensors, IHS. “Silicon Labs’ CMEMS technology provides the most integrated crystal replacement solution to date by combining the MEMS resonator and frequency control circuitry into a single-die device optimized for high-volume electronic system designs.”

Like all Silicon Labs oscillator products, the Si50x oscillators are available for web-based customization with short two week sample lead times or optionally available with “0-day” lead time via instantaneous field programming at the customer’s site by Silicon Labs’ sales channel partners. In addition, the Si50x oscillators are pin- and footprint-compatible with existing quartz or MEMS oscillators, enabling a quick, easy drop-in replacement solution.

The Si50x family includes four products that enable thousands of flexible timing configurations:

  • Si501 single-frequency oscillator with output-enable (OE) functionality
  • Si502 dual-frequency oscillator with OE and frequency-select (FS) functionality
  • Si503 quad-frequency oscillator with FS technology
  • Si504 fully programmable oscillator supporting all potential configuration features with a 1-pin interface for fine-tuned frequency adjustments measured in parts per billion

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