The Race to Replace Quartz
Michael S. McCorquodale, Ph.D.,
Chief Technology Officer and Founder,
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Cost and performance have driven the demand for integration in the semiconductor industry since its inception. Nevertheless, several components of typical electronic systems remain in discrete form because it is difficult to develop these components in a circuit fabrication technology, such as CMOS, while also achieving adequate performance. Components of particular interest are quartz frequency references for timing and carrier synthesis. The development of several new integrated timing technologies, along with improved ceramic resonator technology, are now making their way into the marketplace and ultimately replacing quartz in certain applications. This seminar will focus on this “race” to replace quartz by first motivating the endeavor and then analyzing viable replacement technologies from a qualitative and quantitative point of view while discussing current progress and scalability. In particular, recent commercialization efforts of MEMS microresonators out of Michigan, Stanford and Berkeley will be presented along with progress made in improving ceramic resonator performance. It will be shown that though these efforts and results are significant, they have all overlooked the viability of CMOS and precision RF/analog circuit design as a viable technology capable of replacing quartz. The remainder of the seminar will focus on radio frequency temperature compensated harmonic oscillator (RF-TCHO™) technology. This technology is implemented in monolithic form in standard CMOS and provides performance directly comparable to quartz-based timing references. It will also be shown that Mobius’ RF-TCHO™ is the first technology that has successfully replaced quartz in a commercial timing application.
Dr. Michael S. McCorquodale was born in Richardson, TX in 1974. He received the B.S.E. degree with honors in Electrical Engineering from the U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1997. For the next year he was with Hughes Space and Communications Co. in El Segundo, CA where he developed GHz InP and SiGe digital integrated circuits. In 1998 he began graduate work at the U. of Michigan where he completed the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering in the NSF’s Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Wireless Integrated Microsystems (WIMS) in 2000 and 2004 respectively. While at Michigan, he was the sole national recipient of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Doctoral Fellowship in 2002. Additionally, in 2003 and 2002 respectively, Dr. McCorquodale received the Harry B. Benford Entrepreneurial Leadership Award and the Distinguished U. of Michigan Electrical Engineer Award. Dr. McCorquodale has published over 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings and is a co-inventor on 4 issued U.S. patents with 8 additional pending in the U.S. and PCT. In 2002 Dr. McCorquodale and his faculty advisor, Dean Richard B. Brown, founded Mobius Microsystems based on their collaborative research in all-CMOS timing generation. From 2004 to late 2005 Dr. McCorquodale served as Mobius’ CEO where he was awarded for the largest potential high-tech job creation in the State of MI by Governor Jennifer Granholm. Most recently, Dr. McCorquodale and his colleagues were recognized for developing the Innovation of the Year in MI and as 1 of the 50 companies to watch in MI. Currently Dr. McCorquodale is the CTO at Mobius and an adjunct lecturer at the U. of Michigan in the Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.