Tuesday, March 31, 2009
A maker of MEMS timing chips is taking aim at a new market: voltage-controlled crystal oscillators (VCXO). Most timing chips are designed to remain steady, but VCXOs tune their precise frequency in response to data stream variations. SiTime Corp. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) is claiming to have a smaller solution called a voltage-controlled MEMS oscillator (VCMO). The current VCXO market includes chips used in set-top boxes, consumer and networked video, modems, data acquisition equipment and for instrumentation. They make up a $364 million market, according to an ABI Research survey. For comparison, the entire timing chip market is over $5 billion.
BOTTOM LINE: Micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) chips utilize tiny mechanisms to perform functions faster and more efficiently that pure electronic solutions--from deploying airbags to changing your iPhone's orientation from landscape to portrait. Now MEMS chips are poised to revolutionize the voltage-controlled oscillators that keep your cable modem and other video devices in-sync. Keep a watch on SiTime as a rising star in the MEMS device space, as it addresses the needs of more and more market segments.
Posted by R. Colin Johnson at 9:00 AM