The MEMS-based Oscillator market was valued at USD 163.9 million in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 721.33 million by 2026, at a CAGR of 27.89% over the forecast period 2021 - 2026. Oscillators are electronic circuits used to generate an electrical signal of a particular frequency by utilizing the vibrating crystal's (piezoelectric material) mechanical resonance. MEMS oscillators are complete timing systems based on a programmable architecture. It further witnesses significant demand being aided by improved functionality, enhanced performance, and electronic device miniaturization.
- Likewise, with the advancement of mobile infrastructure, the IoT, and electronic wearables, MEMS oscillators tend to enhance the product's usage with respect to the select timing component. Other notable trends, such as 5G, have been putting considerable pressure on vendors to offer allied solutions based on higher frequencies. MEMS oscillators provide an advantage of utilizing one-fifth of the energy consumption, meaning, it could be a significant clock source of choice for many 5G designs scheduled to roll in 2020.
- Since a typical smartphone or tablet uses up to five oscillators, these oscillators were recently based on quartz crystal resonators. However, technology advancements and fabrication evolution introduced advanced versions of the crystal oscillators, like microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) resonator-based clocks and oscillators, making the quartz crystal oscillators relatively an obsolete technology.
- For instance, companies, such as IDT and SiTime, offer MEMS oscillators. MEMS-based oscillators offer reliability, ruggedness, miniaturization, cost-effectiveness. Such solutions are expected to significantly challenge market growth and influence the demand over the upcoming applications.
- Silicon-based manufacturing and packaging techniques developed capabilities to integrate with other circuits across standard semiconductor packages. This has made scalable standard silicon manufacturing possible for the resonator and broader timing technology.
- Further, MEMS and silicon-based technologies operate in a wide range of frequencies, while being highly resistant to vibration, mechanical shock, temperature changes, and less susceptible to frequency jumps. Therefore, this technology has been ideal for timing solutions that are small in size and offer high performance, robustness, and programmability. For instance, the DSC1001 from Microchip is a silicon MEMS-based oscillator. The device offers jitter and stability performance as low as 10ppm over a wide range of supply voltages and temperatures, such as 1MHz to 150MHz with supply voltages between 1.8 to 3.3 VDC and temperature ranges up to -40ºC to 105ºC.
- With delays in the shipping of finished products across automobiles, aerospace, consumer electronics, the outbreak of pandemic also affected the production of frequency control devices. With major semiconductor factories shut down, the supply chain impacts have taken the major hit. However, MEMS oscillator-based devices for medical monitoring applications have been positively impacted as pressure and microfluidics are linked to COVID-19, including respiratory diagnostics and other research tools to study the virus and patient monitoring.
- For instance, Raltron has been enhancing support services for Medical Equipment Manufacturers amid the COVID-19 outbreak. As per April 2020, the company had its Miami-based facility running at 100% capacity, while the Asian facilities at 90% capacity. Raltron's MEMS oscillators, crystal resonators, and filters were primarily being demanded across portable medical devices.
Key Market Trends
Consumer Electronics Industry is Expected to Drive the Market Growth
- The frequent new launches of consumer electronics products are expected to fuel the market for MEMS-based oscillators. With applications across smartphones, and wearables, and the drive to enable smaller, lower power IoT enabled devices, significant growth in MEMS-based oscillators is expected.
- The consumer markets have been observing an increased demand for activity trackers by the rising number of units being shipped per year, followed by smartwatches, wearable cameras, and smart glasses. These devices are being enabled by advancement across MEMS technology to simplify timing solutions and wireless connectivity.
- Innovations across MEMS timing technology is also making significant contributions to physical space and power savings in wearable applications, whilst improving reliability. Cost, in such cases, presents significant challenges as the segment falls into the consumer category. With the advent of 5G network rollouts, particularly in consumer markets, the demand for compacter, higher frequency enabled, and less timing slop-based MEMS oscillators for consumer electronics is expected to grow.
- Multiple vendors in the market studied are offering allied timing solutions. For instance, in January 2020, Abracon launched its Ultra-Low Jitter AK2 ClearClock Oscillators for compact networking applications. This release has been mainly in line with offering compacter oscillators. The demand for next-generation data rate clocking requirements for applications, like optical modules, small video cameras, and active cables, is increasing.
- Another critical aspect being driven by 5G across consumer electronic applications of MEMS-based oscillators is the need for extended battery life through low current consumption. Development of low frequency, low power timekeeping devices are demanded across mobile devices where the device is continuously ON for timekeeping or controlling sleep modes.
North America to Account for Significant Market Share
- North America accounts for the largest market for MEMS-based oscillators, reinforced by the presence of an established industrial sector and booming automotive and consumer electronics industries. The volume of automobile production in the region has witnessed a growth in the 2014-2021 period.
- In addition, the growth of connected and driverless cars in the region and IoT applications in the automotive segment are also expected to drive the demand for MEMS-based oscillators.
- Moreover, the gradually increasing demand for smartphones in the region, precisely due to the local player Apple's product, iPhone, and Samsung's flagship S-series, is expected to drive the demand for MEMS-based oscillators. This increasing penetration is mainly because of their inherent advantages, such as small size, high reliability, and low power consumption.
- Further, players in the region are involved in product development. For instance, in July 2019, SiTimes launched its portfolio, namely, 'Endura' (MEMS timing solutions) as commercial standard products inclusive of six oscillator families and 17 product variants for timing solutions. The portfolio was designed specifically to offer stable performance in harsh conditions, including high impact, vibration, and extreme temperatures.
The major players include SITime Corporation, Microchip Technology Inc., Vectron International Inc., Abracon Holdings, LLC, TXC Corporation, IQD Frequency Product Ltd, amongst others. There is high competition among major players due to the boom of automation, mainly in the automotive sector in this industry. The major players are spending more on R&D, which in return, create high competition in the market.
- In June 2020 - Abracon LLC, a manufacturer of frequency control, timing, synchronization, RF, connectivity, and power component solutions, extended its franchise agreement with Edge Electronics, Inc. to include all brands of the company, such as Abracon, Ecliptek, ILSI, MMD, and Oscilent. This global agreement also aims at offering fast and easy access to company's offerings amid the disrupted supply chains.
- In December 2019 - Rakon's XMEMS technology extended the benefits of a MEMS process, when coupled with superior material properties of quartz over silicon. This achieved lower Q and a better phase noise performance without the phase-locked loop induced phase noise 'hump', across silicon MEMS oscillator.
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