Silicon oscillators offer drop-in compatibility with quartz-based devices

Austin, Tex. — Developed as a replacement for crystal oscillators, Silicon Laboratories Inc. has entered the consumer timing market with the introduction of the Si500 silicon oscillators. Touting the industry's highest stability 100 percent CMOS oscillator, the Si500 family is also said to offer the widest frequency range, largest selection of differential and single-ended clock formats, low total power consumption and the lowest jitter of any oscillator targeted at high-volume consumer applications such as digital still cameras, camcorders, printers, PC peripherals, LCD displays, servers and storage applications.

The Si500 eliminates the quartz resonator that must be cut and tuned for each frequency, replacing it with an ultra-low phase noise silicon oscillator manufactured using standard, high-volume IC manufacturing processes capable of generating any output frequency from 0.9 to 200 MHz.

By eliminating the mechanical resonator used for frequency generation, the Si500 also provides high immunity to shock and vibration that plagues traditional crystal oscillators, said Silicon Labs. The Si500 is reportedly the first silicon oscillator in the industry to support differential clock outputs (LVPECL, LVDS, HCSL) in addition to CMOS and SSTL formats. It is also said to be the industry's only oscillator supporting a dual-output CMOS format mode in which a single device can produce two output clocks at the same frequency, eliminating the need for external clock buffers.

In addition, the devices are factory programmed and shipped to customers six times quicker than traditional oscillators, cutting lead times from up to twelve weeks to two weeks, said Silicon Labs.

Using innovative, mixed-signal analog circuitry, the oscillator is compensated for frequency variation due to operating temperature range, initial frequency accuracy, supply voltage change and output load change. The Si500 also represents breakthrough technology as the industry's first silicon oscillator that provides temperature stability on par with crystal oscillators, said Silicon Labs. The product family supports frequency stability options ranging from +/-100 to +/-150 ppm, providing drop-in compatibility with quartz-based oscillators.

The silicon oscillators feature low voltage operation of 3.3 V, 2.5 V or 1.8 V, and 1.5 ps RMS phase jitter and 2 ps RMS period jitter (maximum). The Si500 is available in either a 4- or 6-pad, 3.2 x 4.0-mm dual flat no-lead (DFN) package.

Pricing: From $0.95 to $2.24 in quantities of 10,000, depending on frequency.
Availability: The Si500 is sampling now with volume production in fourth quarter 2008.
Product information: Si500 and to configure and purchase

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