What is a VCSO?

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Raghav Kapur - everything RF

Nov 23, 2017

A VCSO is a Voltage Controlled SAW Oscillator. The component that differentiates a VCSO from other oscillators is the SAW delay line. It uses a quartz SAW (Surface Acoustic Wave) delay line as the frequency controlling element in the oscillator.

In terms of performance they fall between voltage controlled crystal oscillators (VCXO) and lumped component voltage controlled oscillators (LC VCO). 

VCSO's have a much better far out phase noise than VCXOs and slightly worse close-in phase noise than VCXO.

When compared to Lumped Component VCO's, VCSO's have lower noise and are much more stable. However they are not as stable as VCXO's. For example VCSOs typically tune 700 ppm to 1500 ppm, whereas VCXOs tune less than 200 ppm, and LC VCO's tune many thousands of ppm.

VCSO's are a good option when a high frequency, low noise, small and rugged oscillator is required. Click here to download a white paper to learn more about VCSO's.