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Jan 10th, 2012
NXP Demonstrates Ultra-Compact, High-Precision MEMS Frequency Synthesizer
Showcases R&D strength in high performance mixed signal technologies at CES 2012.
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NXP Semiconductors unveiled its ultra-compact, high-precision MEMS-based frequency synthesizer, which presents a compelling alternative to quartz crystal-based timing devices. NXP's MEMS technology replaces a quartz crystal with a bare silicon die that is more than 20 times smaller than the smallest crystal available today. The MEMS die does not require any dedicated, quartz-like, ceramic or metal-can hermetic package. Instead, it can be merged with other ICs into a standardized, low-cost plastic package. The crystal-free frequency synthesizer is one of several advanced High Performance Mixed Signal technologies which NXP is showcasing this week at CES 2012 (booth CP8).

High-Precision MEMS Resonator Technology NXP's proprietary resonator technology for MEMS-based timing devices features higher frequency stability, lower timing jitter and lower temperature drift compared to other CMOS oscillators. The first prototype currently released for production enables a highly stable clock reference that is ideal for communications equipment using Gigabit Ethernet, USB, PCI-Express and S-ATA, plus CPU timing, memory and control in consumer electronics devices. Its high level of system integration and very small form factor make it a compact, robust and highly cost-effective alternative to quartz crystal-based timing devices, as described in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sIElkrIWWI

Key features of NXP MEMS resonator technology include:
        --  Higher frequency stability. The resonator exhibits very low motion
            damping and hence a very high quality factor (Q-factor), allowing for
            high frequency stability and low close-to-carrier noise levels of the
            oscillator. Low damping is achieved using a mono-crystalline silicon
            resonator that is placed under reduced atmospheric pressure in a
            low-cost, on-wafer processed hermetic cavity. The resonator shows no
            significant ageing, even after accelerated lifetimes such as HTOL,
            HAST and TMCL.
        --  Lower timing jitter. NXP's MEMS resonator uses a unique
            piezo-resistive concept combining strong electro-mechanical coupling
            with a high resonance frequency. The high oscillation frequency that
            is made possible with this concept enables very low timing jitter. By
            using the piezo-resistive concept, the resonator overcomes the
            classical issue of weak electro-mechanical coupling at high resonance
            frequency, which is encountered in conventional silicon MEMS
        --  Lower temperature drift. The NXP resonator exhibits 10 times less
            temperature drift compared to conventional silicon resonators, and is
            comparable to quartz-crystal tuning forks. The reduction in
            temperature drift is realized passively, and therefore does not
            require any additional power that is often needed in conventional
            temperature drift correction schemes. As a result, the oscillator is
            able to realize very high frequency stability of only a few
            parts-per-million (ppm).

Advanced Technologies Featured at CES Other cutting-edge technologies which are being presented by the NXP R&D team at CES this week include:

        --  Multi-modal smart sensors for use in smart buildings, climate control,
            automotive comfort and perishable goods monitoring
        --  Multi-protocol smart home and building management systems for
            operating multiple home networks, including wireless monitoring of
            energy consumption
        --  High-efficiency solar energy harvesting for off-grid solar
            applications and solar battery charging
        --  Wireless audio ear buds as an alternative to wired or Bluetooth-based
            headphones based on magnetic induction radio technology
        --  High-performance gigabit communications systems to enable high-speed
            mobile and computer connectivity, and for applications such as
            automotive safety radar and high-resolution body scanners

Rene Penning de Vries, CTO of NXP Semiconductors, said: "We're very excited to present our groundbreaking MEMS resonator technology as well as other R&D innovations at CES 2012. NXP's entire culture is built around innovation, and we strive to exceed our customers' expectations by pushing the envelope with new and potentially game-changing technologies. The solutions we're showing at CES clearly illustrate NXP's ongoing commitment to improving our work, home and leisure environments through smarter electronics." 


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