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A real-time 32.768-kHz clock oscillator using a 0.0154-mm2 micromechanical resonator frequency-setting element

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7 Author(s)
Barrow, H.G. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng. & Comput. Sci., Univ. of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA ; Naing, T.L. ; Schneider, R.A. ; Rocheleau, T.O.
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A capacitive-comb transduced micromechanical resonator using aggressive lithography to occupy only 0.0154-mm2 of die area has been combined via bond-wiring with a custom ASIC sustaining amplifier and a supply voltage of only 1.65V to realize a 32.768-kHz real-time clock oscillator more than 100× smaller by area than miniaturized quartz crystal implementations and at least 4× smaller than other MEMS-based approaches, including those using piezoelectric material. The key to achieving such large reductions in size is the enormous rate at which scaling improves the performance of capacitive-comb transduced folded-beam micromechanical resonators, for which scaling of lateral dimensions by a factor S provides an S2× reduction in both motional resistance and footprint for a given resonance frequency. This is a very strong dependency that raises eyebrows, since the size of the frequency-setting tank element may soon become the most important attribute governing cost in a potential MEMS-based or otherwise batch-fabricated 32.768-kHz timing oscillator market. In addition, unlike quartz counterparts, the size reduction demonstrated here actually reduces power consumption, allowing this oscillator to operate with only 2.1μW of DC power.

Published in:

Frequency Control Symposium (FCS), 2012 IEEE International

Date of Conference:

21-24 May 2012