The following is a white paper by Silicon Labs with an innovative new process and technology that I believe deserves some level of detail and explanation for informative and educational purposes for EDN readers. Learning about this technology will help all designers give birth to new ideas and architectures as well as help those other designers to effectively integrate this type of product into their systems.
CMEMS® technology is an innovative CMOS + MEMS manufacturing process developed by Silicon Labs, a leading supplier of timing solutions. The term CMEMS is a contraction of the acronyms CMOS and MEMS (micro electro mechanical systems).
CMEMS technology offers many benefits over traditional oscillator approaches, ranging from scalability, customer-specific programmability and 0-day samples, to long-term reliability and performance. This white paper describes CMEMS process technology, existing hybrid oscillator architectures and the Si501/2/3/4 (Si50x) CMEMS oscillator architecture.
A Brief Overview of Crystal Oscillators
The $3 billion (USD) per year frequency control market has been dominated by quartz crystals and quartz-based oscillators for many decades. Almost every type of electronic equipment relies in some manner on a tiny piece of machined quartz rock to generate at least one of many potential operating frequencies. Figure 1 shows a classic quartz-based oscillator and its components.
Over the last few decades, quartz manufacturing has reached new levels of sophistication, delivering smaller, thinner and higher-frequency solutions. While these manufacturing advances are important and certainly measurable, the overall process in terms of the required processing steps has not changed very much.
Read More: Product focus: CMEMS oscillator architecture