Rakon Introduces Quartz XMEMS Technology for High Performance Oscillators

Leading developer of advanced frequency control and timing solutions, Rakon, has released its new XMEMS technology, based on its 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 ASICs, forms the foundation of Rakon’s industry leading 5G product offering.

The company has invested heavily in R&D for photolithography and its NanoQuartz process for over a decade. The NanoQuartz process enables them to achieve critical quartz dimension accuracies in the tens of nanometre range.  This allows controlling key resonator properties such as Q, frequency stability and unwanted modes to unprecedented levels.

Quartz MEMS vs Silicon MEMS

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 it uses 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 essential 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.

According to Rakon’s Advanced Technology Manager for Global Engineering, Michael McIlroy, the XMEMS offers the benefits of a micro-electromechanical 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. The XMEMS technology can offer the best phase noise performance without the phase-locked loop induced phase noise ‘hump’, typically seen in a silicon MEMS oscillator phase noise performance plot.

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


  • Country: New Zealand
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