IDT has released an inexpensive monolithic CMOS oscillator aimed at replacing crystal-based oscillators without any mechanical frequency source or PLL.
Even the most discriminating EE or electronics industry watcher can occasionally gloss over or even ignore the announcement of some new frequency source. After all, as important as oscillators are in all sorts of devices, they are the electronic equivalent of the dusty brass pendulum swinging back and forth in an antique grandfather clock.
They just are not as intellectually sexy as patent infringement cases over Flash memory, whatever Apple is doing this week, or the most recent updates on ReRAM. But IDT’s 3C02 is a promising device with a reported “100ppm total frequency error across temperature, voltage and other factors.”
The IC has relatively low phase noise at just -140dBc/Hz at 1MHz offset from the carrier, according to IDT. And it “features a 200nA (typical) low power stand-by mode and fast start-up time of 100us (typical).”
The IDT3C02 is packaged in a thin 5×3.2mm quartz-crystal-compatible package and consumes relatively less power than crystal-based alternatives. Finally its solid-state construction—remember there are no mechanical parts or piezo-electronic resonance—makes the 3C02 very resistant to shock.
“With its sub-100ppm total frequency error, the IDT3C02 is a major breakthrough in the timing industry. It expands on the all-silicon CMOS oscillators in wafer forms announced earlier this year and extends the IDT timing leadership.” said Fred Zust, vice president and general manager of the Communications division at IDT, who is no doubt a bit biased.
But the device specifications do seem to indicate that this CMOS solution really is a viable alternative to hermetically sealed, ceramic-encased quartz crystal solutions. It is an innovation—albeit an incremental one—that certainly seems worthy of at least some attention.
IDT said the 3C02 is available for sampling and will be priced at about 73 cents each in small, 1,000-unit quantities.