This project aims to build a MEMS-based on-chip reference oscillator at GHz frequencies. By constructing an array of capacitive transduced micromechanical resonators with extremely small capacitive gaps and high mechanical Q, in conjunction with a low-power CMOS ASIC amplifier, it becomes possible to achieve self-sustained oscillation in a die-level system. The high mechanical Q of these devices, which can reach an extraordinary >40,000 at frequencies up to 3GHz, allows the possibility for unprecedented phase noise performance. Many applications for such high-frequency, low phase-noise oscillators exist, ranging from prosaic mobile communications oscillators, to more exotic uses such as reference clocks for chip-scale atomic clocks.
Project end date: 02/20/13