Microtech 2011

Programmable MEMS-Based Silicon Timing Solutions Change the Game

M. Lutz
SiTime Corp, US

Keywords: programmable, MEMS, silicon, timing, oscillator


For the past few decades, the electronics industry has relied on quartz based timing solutions, which involve machining of crystals and then marrying them to analog circuits inside an expensive, ceramic package. Furthermore, this package has to be vacuum sealed, and undergo, extensively testing before shipment. This cumbersome manufacturing process results in long quartz lead times, as much as 20 weeks. For the past few years, programmable MEMS products have provided a compelling alternative to quartz timing solutions. MEMS resonators are manufactured in Silicon, as are the programmable analog circuits that them. Unlike quartz, MEMS-based timing solutions don’t need exotic packaging – they use the same plastic packages that are used by billions of semiconductor devices every year. In addition, these MEMS-based timing solutions use the programmable fabless semiconductor model, making product available in 3 weeks. Programmability gives the designer exactly what they want; they need not compromise their specifications to match commonly available quartz products. Programmability will revolutionize the timing industry. Designers can perfectly tune and optimize their systems for performance, power, EMI, reliability, without waiting 20 weeks or paying high prices to get product. MEMS-based silicon timing solutions are delivering these benefits today and dramatically changing the market.

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