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Silicon technology offers cheaper alternative to quartz crystal oscillators

Silicon technology offers cheaper alternative to quartz crystal oscillators

eoSemi has announced details of an innovative silicon oscillator technology designed to offer an all cmos silicon alternative to costly, bulky quartz crystal oscillators.

According to eoSemi, its Accurate Timing Oscillator Circuit (ATOC) technology is made using standard semiconductor manufacturing technology, so its products are cheaper, smaller, easier to integrate, more robust and consume less power than competing offerings.

Ian Macbeth, CEO of eoSemi, said: "Sampling our first products is a significant milestone: now we are demonstrating the power of our core IP in a context that directly addresses a compelling customer problem. This puts us ahead of our plan in terms of both technology development and revenue generation, which is a tremendous testament to the hard work and talent of our team."

eoSemi's ATOC technology incorporates proprietary techniques to sense and compensate for changes in temperature and physical stresses within the device. A fundamental circuit design is said to allow the oscillator's output frequency to be tuned instantaneously in real time, and compensate for drift over the lifetime of the device.

The company says its immediate focus is on handheld battery powered devices such as mobile phones, smartphones and tablets, a market worth $800million in 2011. In a bid to address the difficulty that new market entrants face when breaking into the mobile handset segment, eoSemi has put in place an innovative partnership strategy with leading silicon companies, that it believes will give major customers access to eoSemi's products through established and trusted supply channels.

The first ATOC based product is a 32kHz timing reference circuit aimed at this market. eoSemi has already delivered engineering samples of the chip to key customers: commercial production, in an advanced chip scale package measuring 1.5 x 1.5mm, will commence in Q3 2012.

Manufactured using a standard cmos process, the new device draws 8µA of supply current in active mode and delivers accuracy down to ±30ppm. eoSemi believes this combination of specifications, along with an operating temperature range of -40 to 85°C, will enable the timing reference to comply with the system design requirements of major 3G handset manufacturers.

Chris Shaw

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