How Fast Is a Quick-Turn for MEMS Oscillators? SiTime Says 48 Hours

March 04, 2020 by Robin Mitchell

Fast prototyping isn't so fast when you have to wait 20 weeks for a MEMS oscillator. SiTime wants to put an end to the wait for designers worldwide.

A common pain point for designers can be the slow turnaround time to receive a certain component for prototyping. When it comes to ordering oscillators, for instance, designers might not get their hands on the device for up to 20 weeks.

SiTime is addressing this constraint with an announcement that they are now shipping MEMS oscillators within 48 hours of a user placing an order—either through SiTime or one of SiTime's preferred partners, including Digi-Key, SE-Spezial in Europe, Jointech in China, and Seungjun in South Korea. This geographical spread of distributors makes SiTime's 48-hour availability an option for designers worldwide.


Faster Shipping Means Faster Prototyping Cycles

In opening the 48-hour window between order and shipment, SiTime hopes to quicken the prototyping pace for designers working with custom MEMS oscillators. The service will allow designers to obtain samples and low-volume production runs of MEMS oscillators for use in industrial and IoT applications. This, in theory, can help to reduce the time to market and in turn, the time to revenue.


SiTime MEMS oscillators

SiTime offers a range of MEMS oscillators for industrial and IoT applications, among others. Image used courtesy of SiTime

“Fast, efficient delivery of oscillators has been the Achilles heel of the quartz industry for decades. With 48-hour lead time for our MEMS timing solutions, SiTime is once again transforming the timing market and leading the industry in availability,” says Piyush Sevalia, SiTime's executive vice president of marketing.


The Inherent Speed of MEMS Oscillators Over Quartz

MEMS oscillators have several advantages over their quartz counterparts.

According to a SiTime presentation on eight reasons to replace crystals with MEMS oscillators, MEMS oscillators are an inherently faster choice in the design process because a designer can simply insert them into a design, whereas quartz oscillators require external parts (such as matched capacitors) to produce an oscillation.


SiTime's MEMS oscillator architecture

SiTime's MEMS oscillator architecture. Image used courtesy of (PDF) SiTime

"MEMS devices offer a level of reliability and environmental resilience, whether that's for shock, vibration, or temperature," Sevalia explains. "With designs getting more complicated and hotter, why would you be using quartz if you could be using MEMS?"

They are also immune to vibration and are 10 times less sensitive. In addition, MEMS oscillators are less sensitive to electromagnetic radiation and are available at any frequency with short lead times.


Custom-Programmable MEMS Oscillators

The devices, according to SiTime, are custom programmable, indicating that the devices are generic before being shipped and are configurable to a customer’s specification. 

SiTime's range of MEMS oscillators can be specified based on a number of variables, including:  

  • Frequency to 6 decimal places
  • Supply voltage
  • Output drive type
  • Drive strength
  • Operating temperature
  • Stability


Which Oscillators Are Available for the 48-Hour Turnaround?

The range of oscillators available to designers for this 48-hour shipping includes high-temperature oscillators, automotive oscillators, differential oscillators, micropower oscillators, and TXCOs.

We've discussed some of these oscillators in more detail in the past—particularly the MEMS oscillators for military and aerospace applications, frequency generation, and 5G applications.


SiTime's Elite platform

SiTime's Elite platform. Image used courtesy of SiTime


SiTime expects that their newer devices will be ready for 48-hour shipment by the second quarter of 2020 while the Endura series of oscillators (those described to have increased reliability and ruggedness) will be available for the quick-turn availability later in 2020.

Sevalia adds, "The big-ticket item for engineers to perk their ears up at is, obviously, that these devices are available within 48 hours. But that also means we're solving their problems within 48 hours too—be it performance or EMI. It's one less thing they have to worry about, simply because it's available."