Crystals are naturally occurring materials that can be induced to resonate or vibrate at an exact frequency.   Types   Quartz, a piezoelectric crystal that provides excellent mechanical and electrical stability, acquires a charge when compressed, twisted, or distorted. Typically, quartz crystals are used as active elements in oscillators. Applying mechanical stress to quartz produces a voltage that is proportional to the mechanical frequency of the vibration.   Conversely,...
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Q & A on Crystals

We asked our users for their input on Crystals. Here are the results of 63 users familiar with Crystals.

Who Took Our Poll? | Design Trends | Applications and Use | Features | Buying Advice

Who Took Our Poll?Top

Design TrendsTop

Q:
What new technologies are influencing crystal design?
7 answers
Answers:
Consumer electronics, emerging market opportunities, IEEE 1588 ToP.
~Bob R, Supply Chain Management - Tech Advisor, Dallas, TX
Inverted mesa, saws.
~Faculty/Staff, Provo, UT
Difficult to say. Mobile phone is important, but only for form factor as this is in between low cost segment and quality becomes not so important - price is the only thing which counts. For technical innovation, application like micro base station, PMR, some medical application require more technical innovation.
~Joerg K., Technical Manager, Essen, Germany
Homeland security requirements.
~Bill H., Senior Scientist, Boston, MA
Smart Munitions
~Geoff L, Design Engineer, Mechanicsburg, PA
Simulation
~Juerg K, Manufacturer, Grenchen, Switzerland
MEMS
~Hank R, Design Engineer, Ronkonkoma, NY

Q:
From your perspective, which companies are creating the most innovative crystals?
7 answers
Answers:
No.1 is Tokyo denpa japan which has really best performance and know how starting from raw material side ( they received various award for purest and best raw material) over production equipment which they also design / develop / sell themselves up to finished components. They may not be the biggest supplier, but they are innovative, flexible, and they have introduced some key technologies which are used now from other crystal makers such as AUSN sealing method which is key for further miniaturisation of crystal components.
~Joerg K., Technical Manager, Essen, Germany
CTS, Vectron, and Rakon are developing the most innovative crystal oscillators.
~Bob R, Supply Chain Management - Tech Advisor, Dallas, TX
Nofech Croven Colorado Crystals Statek
~Geoff L, Design Engineer, Mechanicsburg, PA
Cardinal Greenray/Statek
~Hank R, Design Engineer, Ronkonkoma, NY
Epson Toyocom, NDK, TEW.
~Ludmila H, Sales engineer, Stockholm, Sweden
Micro Crystal, Epson
~Juerg K, Manufacturer, Grenchen, Switzerland
RMD, Saint Gobain
~Bill H., Senior Scientist, Boston, MA

Applications and UseTop

Q:
What are some of the applications you have used crystals for?
18 answers
Answers:
Starting from telecommunication such as Mobile Phone, Wlan, wi Max, dect , Data trunking systems, Tetra, PMR, ISM applications, pace maker and many more.
~Joerg K., Technical Manager, Essen, Germany
Solar cells, cell phone electronics, night vision devices, X-ray imaging, medical X-ray imaging, nuclear medicine, high energy physics.
~Bill H., Senior Scientist, Boston, MA
Local reference oscillator for network timing interfaces. CPU reference clock. High speed SERDES reference clock.
~Bob R, Supply Chain Management - Tech Advisor, Dallas, TX
Oscillator for measuring deposition thickness of thin film.
~Faculty/Staff, Provo, UT
GPS Base Stations Military Radar and IED detector.
~Hank R, Design Engineer, Ronkonkoma, NY
Telecommunications, Military applications,
~Marketing/Sales, Litchfield Park, AZ
Oscillator application, MCU clock, etc...
~Shanlong Z, Engineer, Guangzhou, China
Building amateur transceivers.
~Jay F, Faculty/Staff, Rochester, NY
Oscillator frequency control.
~Engineering, Design, Goderich, Canada
Timing circuits, RF circuits
~Other, Ottawa, Canada
All possible applications
~Ludmila H, Sales engineer, Stockholm, Sweden
Deep sea ROV electronics
~Engineer, Davis, CA
All type of oscillators.
~Juerg K, Manufacturer, Grenchen, Switzerland
Filters Radio channel
~Other, Kangaroo Flat, Australia
Gps disciplinec ocxo
~Engineering, Other, Budapest, Hungary
Microphone elements
~Manufacturing, Ellenboro, NC
OCXOs, TCXOs, VCXOs
~Geoff L, Design Engineer, Mechanicsburg, PA
Electronic Filters
~Engineering, Design, Kansas City, MO

Q:
Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that crystals have been used for.
6 answers
Answers:
Non standard application are Crystals for Oil drill equipment; high shock device for military application, extreme temperature range device for sensor application up to 250°C
~Joerg K., Technical Manager, Essen, Germany
Monitoring thin film deposition thickness by exposing crystal to deposition.
~Faculty/Staff, Provo, UT
Smart Cards, Medical implantable devices, Drilling for Oil.
~Juerg K, Manufacturer, Grenchen, Switzerland
M1 Abrams upgrade F35 Joint Strike Fighter
~Hank R, Design Engineer, Ronkonkoma, NY
It is difficult to say what is a standard and non standard application. Crystals are today used within almost every area.
~Ludmila H, Sales engineer, Stockholm, Sweden
MCXO Nucleur Hardened.
~Geoff L, Design Engineer, Mechanicsburg, PA

Q:
Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of crystals?
3 answers
Answers:
Worst case - oscillation can stop and if this is major clock frequency for PC what ever a complete system can fail. Can not remember which time, but for satellite this happened in the past and this of course is a disaster. Also if base stations may fail due to such a problem, many people are affected.
~Joerg K., Technical Manager, Essen, Germany
Wrong load capacitance resulted in too small pulling for set frequency.
~Geoff L, Design Engineer, Mechanicsburg, PA
Too little oscillator allowance.
~Juerg K, Manufacturer, Grenchen, Switzerland

FeaturesTop

Q:
What would your design or feature "wish list" be for this product?
7 answers
Answers:
The biggest wish I have is short delivery time for crystals which shall be used in prototype series. This is the main problem we have, talking about design.
~Ludmila H, Sales engineer, Stockholm, Sweden
Higher fundamental frequencies into the GHz range.
~Faculty/Staff, Provo, UT
Light output, energy resolution, physical size.
~Bill H., Senior Scientist, Boston, MA
Stratum 3E stability at much lower cost.
~Bob R, Supply Chain Management - Tech Advisor, Dallas, TX
Size, very small and thin.
~Juerg K, Manufacturer, Grenchen, Switzerland
Low Gsense SC-Cut
~Geoff L, Design Engineer, Mechanicsburg, PA
Smaller cheaper
~Hank R, Design Engineer, Ronkonkoma, NY

Q:
Is there any advice you want to share with users to help them avoid common errors in selection or usage of crystals?
7 answers
Answers:
Don´t always trust the specification written by a IC producer. They are not always aware what is happening within the "crystal world". The best advice is to order samples and test.
~Ludmila H, Sales engineer, Stockholm, Sweden
Gather all of your information and describe to the crystal grower your usage scenario to see if the material desired is the right choice.
~Bill H., Senior Scientist, Boston, MA
Know your supply chain. Know the quality controls of your suppliers' suppliers.
~Bob R, Supply Chain Management - Tech Advisor, Dallas, TX
Take care about CL of crystal and circuit, Stray capacitance and chip capacitance must be watched carefully. Drive level should be within specified values as too high level causes problem. Some chip supplier specifying stability values for crystals which are extremely difficult to be fulfilled. Example for - 40 to 85°C better than +/- 15 ppm is high cost factor. +/- 15 ppm should be taken as best value here everything better need to be selected from production or need to have high expensive selection of raw materials ( blank)
~Joerg K., Technical Manager, Essen, Germany
Make sure you understand load capacitance and finish points.
~Geoff L, Design Engineer, Mechanicsburg, PA
Contact the manufacturer for help for oscillator design check.
~Juerg K, Manufacturer, Grenchen, Switzerland
Do not over specify the crystal for your application.
~Hank R, Design Engineer, Ronkonkoma, NY

Buying AdviceTop

Q:
Do you have any advice for people relative to buying or using crystals?
8 answers
Answers:
If you are not sure about the crystal specification, consult a distributor who is specialized within quartz area. In some applications, the specification can be very important.
~Ludmila H, Sales engineer, Stockholm, Sweden
Talk to the crystal grower or material scientist to see if your specifications are feasible. There may be a need for a work around.
~Bill H., Senior Scientist, Boston, MA
Quality is IMPORTANT. Low cost can come at a big price down the road.
~Bob R, Supply Chain Management - Tech Advisor, Dallas, TX
Take care about your real need and especially aging performance. Low cost device can have dangerous behavior after some time by extreme aging rates, frequency discontinuities and other problems. Far east suppliers often send perfect samples, but for MP they have problems supplying same quality as samples. So called golden samples are supplied especially from China. Take care that Aging is specified at 25°C only and NOT over working temperature range. Ask supplier in case your application has higher average temperature what Aging he can guarantee here. Those questions will show if supplier is reliable or not.
~Joerg K., Technical Manager, Essen, Germany
Contact the manufacturer for help for oscillator design check.
~Juerg K, Manufacturer, Grenchen, Switzerland
If you can stay with a standard frequency you are better off.
~Hank R, Design Engineer, Ronkonkoma, NY
Smaller packages are more susceptible to crushing
~Engineer, Davis, CA
Read App notes from manufacturers first.
~Geoff L, Design Engineer, Mechanicsburg, PA


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