PORTLAND, Ore. The first microelectromechanical system (MEMS) oscillator to be listed in the world's biggest catalog distributor, Digi-Key Corp. (Thief River Falls, Minn.), comes from Discera through its original equipment manufacturer partner, Abracon Corp. (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
Discera's MEMS oscillators will be priced below the equivalent quartz crystal oscillator, placing MEMS squarely into mainstream electronics, according to MEMS analyst Marlene Bourne of Bourne Research (Scottsdale, Ariz.). Bourne said that the low price of Dicsera's Abracon-branded RF MEMS oscillator, running at from 1-125 MHz, means that Discera will have to ship in high volumes to make a profit.
"The difficulty with RF MEMS is that they'll need enormous unit shipment volumes to really generate substantial revenues--which is absolutely a possibility," said Bourne. "Discera is extremely well-positioned."
According to Discera, being listed in Digi-Key's catalog, at a price below that of rival quartz crystals, gives it a good shot at shipping the necessary high volume of units.
"We believe this milestone marks MEMS oscillators as the true sucessor to the high volume markets now served by quartz crystals," said Venkat Bahl, vice president of marketing at Discera.
Discera will manufacture the MOS-1 for Abracon and apply its label to the package, which will then be listed in the Digi-Key catalog alongside quartz cyrstals. Digi-Key is banking on the appeal of MEMS as a technology to attract designers to switch from quartz crystals.
Digi-Key also plans to educate its customers regarding MEMS with special applications notes and educational materials, as well as providing easy to choose substitution methods for engineers familiar with standard quartz crystal part numbers. Digi-Key currently distributes parts in 140 countries.