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MEMS developer looks to oust quartz crystals from range of applications

Sand 9 has launched MEMS based timing products designed specifically to meet the requirements of high volume mobile applications, such as 3G/4G mobile and GPS/GNSS, as well as low power wireless connectivity applications such as Bluetooth Smart.

"It's a market worth more than $4billion and we're looking to disrupt this market," said Todd Borkowski, senior director of marketing. "We intend to displace external timing devices by enabling our technology to be integrated with semiconductor chips."

Two products have been introduced, with a further family outlined. The TM361 has been designed as a replacement for temperature sensing crystals in wireless applications. Integrating a MEMS resonator, a temperature sensor and a heater, the part – which measures just 0.76 x 0.68 x 0.5mm – is said to be suited to system in package devices. Operating at 76.8MHz, the part is said to have a stability of better than 10ppb.

Meanwhile the TM061 is a resonator only device running at 48MHz. With the same footprint as the TM361, the part is targeted at replacing quartz crystals in low power wireless applications. Power consumption is said to be less than 300µA when paired with a typical 1.8V oscillator.

Sand 9 also announced the Temperature Sensing MEMS Oscillator, which will include an oscillator circuit to guarantee phase noise.

Borkowski noted that around 12 other companies have similar products in the market or about to be launched. "Most use a traditional electrostatic MEMS design," he said, "with has a poor signal to noise ratio and poor performance in basestations. Our approach is based on piezoelectric technology and gives 100 times better electromechanical coupling than electrostatic."

The TM061 will sample to lead customers in November 2013 and will be move to mass production in Q3 2014. The TM361 will sample to lead customers in December 2013 and will be in mass production during Q4 2014.

Author
Graham Pitcher

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