Causes of Crystal Aging in Oscillators

More applications and system configurations require timing redundancy and local clocking capabilities as part of standard operation. Network elements are designed to operate in both lock mode (system locked to network reference or GPS) or holdover mode. The local timing device must keep the system running with a specific frequency drift rate. Simultaneously, wireless steered GPS applications like ocean floor seismic nodal, military datalinks, or battery-operated test gears use local oscillators as a backup mechanism to GPS and noise reduction elements.

Quartz-based timing devices are most suitable for “clocking backup” and for their well-known performance attributes such as; high Q, long-term accuracy and stability, along with significant cost benefits. This paper will discuss the critical elements affecting frequency drift of quartz crystals in quartz-based oscillators; aging.

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