What is a DCXO?

What is a digitally controlled crystal oscillator?
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- everything RF

Nov 27, 2021

Digital Controlled Crystal Oscillators (DCXOs) are crystal oscillators whose output/oscillation frequency can be controlled digitally i.e. the output frequency generation is controlled by a x-bit binary word supplied from an external source. They are usually placed in a temperature controlled housing to provide a highly accurate output signal. The frequency adjustment can be done programmatically with sub-ppm accuracy. The frequency stability is achieved by means of the PLL (phase-locked loop) control loop.

DCXOs provide very precise tuning, which is the prime requirement of applications such as synchronization, jitter cleaner, and clock recovery applications in high-performance digital communication systems.

Since DCXOs are digital, their frequency can be controlled very easily from an external source. As a result they tend to be more accurate and stable than VCXOs that require voltage regulation to change the frequency. We are also starting to see DCXOs replacing VC-TCXOs (voltage-controlled temperature-compensated crystal oscillator), especially in the mobile manufacturing industry, as VC-TCXOs are bigger in size, expensive and need external components.

DCXOs are ideal for use in base stations for system mobile communications, high-end routers, synthesizers, measuring instruments, exchangers, optical transmission systems, wearable, hearable, IoT, mobile applications. deal for clock synchronization, instrumentation, low bandwidth PLL, jitter cleaner, clock recovery, audio, video, and FPGA, and GSM applications.

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