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Breakthrough for MEMS Temperature Stability

January 28, 2009

Silicon Clocks' proprietary CMEMS-ZeroThermal technology matches quartz-crystal performance and efficiency; delivers 30x improvement over other MEMS resonators.

FREMONT, CA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Silicon Clocks, a leading developer of custom semiconductor timing solutions, announced its breakthrough CMEMS-ZeroThermal passive temperature compensation technology, a critical step toward making quartz crystals obsolete. MEMS resonators enabled by Silicon Clocks' CMEMS-ZeroThermal technology exhibit comparable temperature stability to quartz crystals, while drastically simplifying oscillator design, and reducing power and circuit size.

First-generation MEMS oscillator solutions use resonators whose frequency varies quickly in response to temperature variations—typically in the 15–30 ppm/°C range. Quartz crystals exhibit a much lower sensitivity in the 0.25 ppm to 1 ppm range. In order to compensate for these wide frequency variations, traditional MEMS based oscillators rely on complex temperature sensing and typically, a power-hungry fractional-N synthesizer to keep adjusting the oscillator output frequency. Silicon Clocks has developed a completely passive (zero power; no dedicated electronic circuitry) mechanical temperature compensation method—improving 30x over other MEMS solutions to match quartz-crystal performance.

The CMEMS-ZeroThermal proprietary technology is based on a combination of manufacturing and design intellectual property perfected by the company. This technology is easy to implement, cheap to manufacture and has been demonstrated across a wide range of resonator designs from the low kilohertz to several hundred megahertz.

"Until now, MEMS technology could not compete for ultra-low-power sleep clock applications," said Silicon Clocks CEO Didier Lacroix. "Silicon Clocks has carefully planned its technology development to leapfrog over solutions in the market. Our CMEMS-ZeroThermal addresses traditional MEMS limitations to enable next generation, high-accuracy, integrated solutions with improved power and reduced footprint compared with quartz crystal."

"The CMEMS-ZeroThermal technology is a major achievement—drastically increasing the footprint for the company's MEMS-based timing solutions across a wider range of applications from watches, to timing solutions with integrated low-power management, to the high-precision timing market traditionally serviced by quartz crystal," said Mark Sherwood, Principal Associate at CS &A LLC, a market analyst and consultant focused on Semiconductor Timing.

About Silicon Clocks
Headquartered in Fremont, CA, Silicon Clocks is a custom product development and licensing company focused upon high performance semiconductor timing and sensor designs and its patented CMEMS technology. Silicon Clocks is backed by leading venture investors, including Tallwood Venture Capital, Charles River Ventures, Formative Ventures and Lux Capital.

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