Selecting Oscillator TechnologySource: Precise Time and Frequency, Inc.
Selection of appropriate oscillator technology for an application can be critical to success or failure of a project. This paper discusses the three most common oscillator technologies in use today in time and frequency applications, namely Temperature Compensated Crystal Oscillators (TCXO), Oven Controlled Crystal Oscillators (OCXO), and Rubidium atomic oscillators (Rb oscillator).
Typically one of these oscillator technologies is integrated into a time and frequency standard, most commonly disciplined (i.e. phase locked) to the GPS system which provides the excellent long term frequency accuracy and stability important to most applications, but has very limited performance in the short term (< 24 hours).
In practice the short term or "real time" performance of a reference standard is critical to most applications e.g. broadcasting, satellite communications, time keeping etc. and therefore the oscillator used is in turn critical to the overall system meeting requirements.