2023.09.21 - From Raw Quartz Crystal to Precision: Crystal Oscillators
In the realm of electronics, precision is paramount. The accuracy of a device's operation often hinges on the stability of its frequency generation.
Nature, like a quartz crystal, is essential in pursuing precision. Modern electronics use a quartz crystal found in nature as a crystal oscillator. This blog post will explain the process of how this happens.
Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals found on Earth. It's a semi-precious gemstone composed of silicon dioxide. Quartz crystals come in various types, including rock crystal, amethyst, citrine, rose quartz, smoky quartz, ametrine, jasper, carnelian, and agate. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, quartz has unique properties, making it a cornerstone of electronic devices.
Applying mechanical stress to quartz generates an electric charge, and people call this property piezoelectricity. Crystal oscillators, which many devices use, rely on the special properties of quartz crystals.
Turning a piece of raw crystal quartz into a functional crystal oscillator involves several steps. We perform each step meticulously to ensure that the resultant oscillator functions with the highest possible precision.
Start by cutting and grinding the raw quartz crystal into a thin wafer. Typically, it takes the shape of a rectangle or a tuning fork. The cutting of quartz affects the stability of its frequency due to its crystal lattice. Once cut, the wafer is further ground and lapped to achieve the desired thickness and parallelism.
After shaping the quartz wafer, we mount it between two electrodes, usually made of metal. These electrodes are essential for applying the voltage that will cause the quartz to vibrate. The quartz and electrode assembly is protected from temperature and humidity to maintain frequency stability.
The encased quartz crystal is now a basic crystal oscillator. However, engineers must test it for precision before using it in an electronic device. If the oscillator's frequency is off, we may need to adjust the thickness of the quartz wafer slightly. This testing and adjustment process continues until the oscillator operates at the desired frequency with an acceptable level of stability.
Quartz crystal oscillators have become indispensable in the world of electronics. When electricity powers the quartz crystal, it vibrates at its special frequency, generating a signal with an exact frequency. This signal stabilizes clock signals in digital circuits, stabilizes frequencies in radios, and keeps time in wristwatches.
Quartz oscillators are everywhere, so you're probably always close to one, within a few feet, at any time. They exist in everything from cell phones and computers to car engines and satellite systems.
From raw quartz crystal to electronic components, the journey combines nature and technology in a captivating way. It's a testament to human ingenuity that we've found ways to harness the unique properties of quartz for our purposes.
We provide high-quality quartz crystal oscillators for different purposes at Harmony Electronics. We are excited to be a part of this journey.
The accuracy of our products depends on the quality of the quartz crystal we use. It also depends on how carefully we make them. You can learn more about our commitment to quality and the role of quartz in our products.
When you use your phone or drive your car, think about the small piece of quartz. This small piece of quartz helps these devices work accurately. From raw quartz crystal to an indispensable part of modern electronics, it's truly a transformation journey.