Revolutionizing Timing with Silicon MEMS

Speaker: Markus Lutz Founder and Executive Vice President, Business Development


Time: March 19th (Thursday) evening 6.30 pm-8.00pm.


MEMS-based oscillators were first produced commercially eight years ago. Now they are transforming the timing market and replacing quartz oscillators at quickly increasing rates. There are five drivers for the transition: (1) MEMS oscillators are maturing with decreasing phase-noise and decreasing power consumption in smaller packages, and with these improvements they are reaching further into common quartz applications. (2) MEMS oscillators are transitioning new markets, for example in applications requiring ultra-low power, high precision, high frequency differential signaling, sub-picosecond integrated jitter, voltage control, digital control, spread, and output edge-rate control. (3) MEMS oscillators have lower electromagnetic, vibration, and acceleration sensitivity than quartz oscillators. (4) MEMS oscillators have higher reliability and lower failure rates than quartz oscillators. And (5) MEMS oscillators sell at lower price points than the quartz parts they replace.

Why is this happening now, rather than ten years ago or ten years from now? One answer is that it has been paced by the MEMS community developing the necessary high stability, high frequency, high Q, and high output resonators. A second answer is that MEMS oscillators rely on advanced circuit architectures, particularly leveraging fractional-PLLs and precision temperature sensors. These specialized circuits have only recently become sufficiently small, low noise, power efficient, and accurate.

Looking forward, the depth and breadth of the applications served by MEMS oscillators will continue to expand, while the drivers favoring MEMS oscillators will further accelerate their adoption.


Markus Lutz, inventor of InChipMEMS™ technology, which allows vacuum-sealed MEMS structures to be manufactured in ultra-pure wafer cavities with integrated CMOS and shipped in low-cost industry standard packages. SiTime used this key intellectual property to bring to market the lowest cost, high performance resonators and oscillators, which are 1/8th the size of leading-edge competitive timing devices. Mr. Lutz received his Diplom Ingenieur Elektrotechnik at the Technical University of Munich in 1992. He started his career at Robert Bosch GmbH in Reutlingen Germany, where over four years he invented and managed the development of Bosch’s first silicon based MEMS gyroscope, now a $200M/year business. In 1999 he joined the newly founded Research and Technology Center of Bosch in Palo Alto as MEMS Program Director. Together with Aaron Partridge (CSO) and Professor Tom Kenny’s (Technical Advisory Board, Board Member) team he further developed InChipMEMS and wrote the first business plan for commercialization of InChipMEMS in the timing market. Mr. Lutz holds 80 patents, and has authored and co-authored 16 publications.


Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the Solid State Circuits Society


September 2021

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“Automatic Generation of SystemVerilog Models from Analog/Mixed-Signal Circuits: a Pipelined ADC Example” – Prof. Jaeha Kim, Seoul National University (SNU)

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