Microtech2010 2010

MEMS-based Silicon Timing: Semiconductor Economics and Benefits Drive Rapid Growth

P. Sevalia
SiTime, US

Keywords: MEMS


Semiconductors have always replaced incumbent technology within a very short period after introduction. Examples abound – transistors, thyristors, vacuum tubes went to Integrated Circuits, photographic film, CDs, LP records went to Flash-based media, and even mechanical components such as gyroscopes, pressure sensors and knobs moved to MEMS-based ICs and capacitive touch panels. This rapid, massive technology transition is driven by the semiconductor industry benefits – higher functionality and performance, lower power, lower cost, smaller size, higher robustness and reliability, which result in smaller, cheaper, more reliable electronics. All electronics need a timing source. For the last 30+ years, the reference timing in electronics consisted of quartz-based resonators, oscillators, and clock generators. Today, semiconductor-based MEMS technology is providing a viable alternative to Quartz based timing. With semiconductor-based MEMS technology come all the benefits of silicon in the areas of functionality, performance, power, cost, size and reliability. Semiconductor-based MEMS devices are poised to significantly alter the landscape of the timing industry. This paper discusses the trends, why semiconductor technology is winning, and offers a glimpse into the future of timing technology
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