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Tech Talk




IDT Unveils the World's First Ultra-low-power 50 ppm CrystalFree™ CMOS Oscillators


Is this the end of the Quartz Crystal?

I had the pleasure to interview Michael McCorquodale, Ph.D of Integrated Device Technology, Inc (IDT) to talk about the company's new innovation of its new ultra high perfomance CMOS Oscillators. IDT has now strengthened its silicon timing leadership with its new 3LG family of silicon-based differential oscillators offering up to 75% lower power than crystal-based oscillators. I must admit I was truly amazed at the advantages these devices provide over the 'mechanical' crystal units that currently are used in manufacturing of almost all products requiring clocks or timing devices. The interview left me wondering why anyone would ever use crystals anymore in their new designs.

Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (IDT) announced that it has released the industry's first CMOS oscillators to feature a breakthrough 50 ppm frequency accuracy and ultra-low power consumption. The new devices replace traditional quartz crystal-based oscillators (XOs) for up to 75% power savings in any of a broad range of applications requiring a 50 ppm timing reference, including computing, communications, and consumer markets. IDT's new 3LG family of CrystalFree CMOS oscillators guarantees 50 ppm lifetime frequency accuracy. They are pin-to-pin compatible with existing quartz-based solutions, making the transition to a CMOS-based oscillator and the resulting power savings a seamless proposition. The devices support low-voltage-differential-signaling (LVDS), low-voltage positive emitter-coupled logic (LVPECL), and host-clock signal level (HCSL) standards for compatibility in a variety of applications. IDT's 3LG devices are designed using a standard silicon manufacturing process and are offered in industry-standard plastic packaging, resulting in lead time, reliability, and cost of ownership advantages over crystal oscillators. The 3LG family leverages the fundamental technology of the successful 3CN family of 100 ppm products that are in volume production today. The transition away from quartz-based oscillators has begun. As the world-leader in silicon timing solutions, we continue to develop high-performance, low-power solutions to meet the needs of the market. Quartz-based oscillators have drawbacks in power, cost, availability, and reliability. IDT's CrystalFree oscillators save up to 75% power versus their quartz-based counterparts, and also offer undeniable benefits for design simplicity, short lead times, and phenomenal reliability.

Michael explained that research shows the semiconductor industry is moving forward at a rapid pace, but one thing that has remained unchanged for the last 50 years is the use of quartz crystal as the primary frequency source for electronics. To date, semiconductor-based frequency control products have not had the accuracy needed to challenge the incumbency of quartz in production systems. With superior pricing and performance versus crystal-based solutions, these semiconductor-based frequency sources will have a significant impact on the crystal oscillator market. The new devices generate stable frequencies up to 125 MHz and offer high-performance phase jitter of less than 1 picosecond over the wide frequency offset of 12 kHz to 20 MHz. In addition, semiconductor-grade shock and vibration resistance provides extreme reliability over the lifetime of the device, while the ultra-small, low-profile packages conserve valuable board area in compact designs. Availability The IDT 3LG CrystalFree 50 ppm oscillators are currently sampling to qualified customers. The IDT 3CN CrystalFree 100 ppm oscillators are in full production today, available in industry-standard packages. For high volume applications, IDT's CrystalFree oscillators can support fast, high-volume production with short lead times, typically fewer than 4 weeks, to support any frequency requirement. For more information about IDT's CrystalFree CMOS oscillators, visit www.idt.com/go/CrystalFree




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