The quartz crystal, or the workhorse of clocking, has been used in timing to deliver a precise heartbeat, achieve low noise and accurate timing. Based on the crystal lattice structure, the resulting output frequency of the crystal oscillator depends on the dimensions of the quartz blank. Larger quartz blanks are able to generate lower output frequencies but present a footprint limitation.
The graphic illustrates the achievable output frequency range attainable with today’s state-of-the-art crystal technology. IoT, wearable and low power applications use frequencies typically higher than 24MHz. Therefore, small packages become favorable. Legacy applications like industrial tend to use lower frequencies below 24MHz. Larger crystal packages are standard for those applications. Applications requiring frequencies between 10MHz and 16MHz, only have a single option in crystal footprint (3.2x2.5mm). Note, lower frequencies require a completely distinct technology such as MEMS.
Applications requiring ultra-low noise and jitter such as telecom, server, broadcast video and test and measurement have several technology options. High frequency generation up to 2.1GHz can make use of the 5x7mm and 3.2x5mm package which also offer low power consumption operation. Ultra-small applications, such optical modules or active cables, should make the move to 3.2x2.5mm footprint. In this footprint, a reduced jitter improves signal integrity while reducing overall power consumption as well.
Timing has evolved to address a wide range of package options. Today’s engineers are well served to review the entire offering of quartz technology, which offers miniaturization in low power and low noise applications.
About Abracon, LLC | The Heartbeat of the IoT™
Abracon is an industry leader in passive components, providing frequency control & timing devices, RF & antenna products, and inductor & connectivity solutions. With service and quality at the company’s core, Abracon enables innovative IoT solutions. Abracon powers the Ecliptek, Fox, ILSI, MMD and Oscilent brands, delivering the latest technical design support and global supply chain flexibility to solve customers’ unique challenges.
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