News | December 3, 2019

Quartz XMEMS: The Pathway To The Future Of Oscillator Technology

Rakon announces it has released its XMEMS technology, based on the company’s NanoQuartz photolithography process.

XMEMS delivers unprecedented resonator and oscillator performance in terms of stability and noise. This proprietary technology coupled with Rakon’s own oscillator ASICs1, forms the foundation of Rakon’s industry leading 5G product offering.

Rakon Sales and Marketing Director Darren Robinson says the company has technology just released, and in the pipeline, that will enable its customers to develop new products and applications to take full advantage of the high bandwidth 5G future.

“Rakon has invested heavily in R&D for photolithography and its NanoQuartz process for over a decade. Our NanoQuartz process enable us to achieve critical quartz dimension accuracies in the tens of nanometre range. This allows us to control key resonator properties such as Q, frequency stabiity and unwanted modes to unprecedented levels.”

Quartz MEMS versus Silicon MEMS
Robinson says XMEMS offers distinct advantages when competing with silicon MEMS.

“Common MEMS oscillator devices use a silicon ASIC and a separate silicon resonator stacked and combined in a single package. The key difference with XMEMS is that we are using the unique properties of quartz as the resonating material.

“The natural properties of quartz generate a high Q piezo electric effect and when cut and dimensioned correctly, offer several orders of magnitude better stability than silicon. The high Q of quartz also enables lower phase noise oscillators esssential for high bandwidth communications. Silicon MEMS oscillators try to mimic this using complex MEMS processing to compensate for the poorer properties of silicon, combined with multiple noise-adding and costly phase-locked loops”.

Rakon Advanced Technology Manager for Global Engineering Michael McIlroy adds that XMEMS offers the benefits of a microelectromechanical systems process, coupled with the inherently superior material properties of quartz over silicon, which has lower Q and a temperature error that is 1000 times worse than quartz.

“XMEMS technology can offer the best phase noise performance without the phase-locked loop induced phase noise ‘hump’ you would typically see in a silicon MEMS oscillator phase noise performance plot,” he says.

Robinson says the first products have just been released with new products launching next year.

“Rakon will be releasing multiple new products using XMEMS technology during 2020. We see XMEMS as the pathway to the future of oscillator technology. We will be producing ultra-high performance oscillators enabling new applications never before possible – the future of connectivity.”

About Rakon
Rakon is a global high technology company and a world leader in its field. The company designs and manufactures advanced frequency control and timing solutions. Its three core markets are Telecommunications, Global Positioning and Space and Defence. Rakon products are found at the forefront of communications where speed and reliability are paramount. Their products create extremely accurate electric signals used to generate radio waves and synchronise time in the most demanding communication applications. Rakon has four manufacturing plants, and six research and development centres. Customer support personnel are located in 15 offices worldwide. Rakon is proud of its New Zealand heritage; it was founded in Auckland in 1967. For more information, visit www.rakon.com.

1 ASIC Application-Specific Integrated Circuit.

SOURCE: Rakon