2006 R&D 100 Winner
For more than 40 years, researchers have built tiny resonating elements on silicon, but have never met the stringent performance and cost requirements to replace crystal quartz. Researchers at SiTime Corp., Sunnyvale, Calif., have now solved these shortcomings with their Silicon Mechanical Resonator, SiT8002, SiT1564, and SiT11xx. SiTime builds these elements below the surface of the silicon wafer, encapsulating them under silicon where they are protected from the environment and allowing the silicon chip to be packaged inexpensively, just like any other silicon chip.
SiTime has exploited this process in a modern 200 mm silicon wafer format, allowing the use of the most modern integrated circuit technologies. The technology is also integrated with modern complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) circuits to easily interface with the rest of the circuits in the product. Modern, high volume packaging technologies allow the silicon resonator to be handled just like any other silicon component.
Silicon mechanical resonator
Originally published in R&D Magazine, September, 2006