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By: Liz Bluesky
4 Frequently asked queries are listed below.

1. What is a Crystal Oscillator?

Virtually all objects have natural resonant frequencies of vibration. A lot of oscillators use crystal quartz technology due to its ability to oscillate at a set frequency determined by a pre-determined set of criteria such as the temperature and the voltage applied across it.

An example of an oscillator that has Quartz Crystal at it's core is an electric circuit that uses the mechanical resonance qualities of a vibrating quartz crystal material to generate an electrical signal having a very specific frequency.

Because of these qualities Crystal oscillators perform vital timing applications in many electronic devices. Examples of these are Quartz wristwatches and Clocks,Radios, Cellphones, Television’s, Microwave Ovens, in fact anything with an integrated circuit board could have some type of oscillator timing device stored within it. They are also utilized in advanced defence equipment.

2. How does a Crystal Oscillator work?

Well, practically any material with elastic features and applicable transducers may be used like a crystal. This is because of the fact that nearly all things have natural resonant frequencies of vibration.

As an example, steel was frequently used in mechanical filters prior to quartz because of its elastic characteristics and it’s high velocity of sound transmission. The resonant frequency of a material is determined by it’s dimension, shape, elasticity, and the speed at which it transmits sound.

High-frequency crystals are generally manufactured in the form of a rectangular plate. Low-frequency crystals, commonly used in wristwatches, are normally manufactured in the form of a

tuning fork. Where extremely exact and accurate timing is required ceramic oscillators are regularly used as an alternative of a quartz crystal.

Quartz Crystal Oscillators are created for frequencies from a few tens of kilohertz to tens of megahertz. It is estimated that there are over two billion crystal oscillators made annually across the world.

3. How did Crystal Oscillators come to be Made?

Research on Piezoelectricity began in the early 1880’s by Jacques and Pierre Curie in 1880. Having said that, some of the earliest uses for quartz resonators was in sonar during World War I. Other early innovators in quartz crystal oscillators include G. W. Pierce and Louis Essen.

Further to this application, Quartz Crystal Oscillators were further developed during the 1920s and 1930s. By 1926 quartz crystals that were reliable enough to be used on wider applications had been created and were used to control the frequencies of radio stations and were additionally very popular with amateur radio operators.

In 1928, the first quartz crystal clock was created and would ultimately become the de-facto standard, replacing the pendulum, and making use of instead the natural vibrations occurring in quartz crystal oscillators. Timing accuracy as a result improved to 1 sec in thirty years.

When these commercial applications became obvious a variety of companies commenced generating quartz crystal oscillators for deployment in electronic digital instruments. The manufacture methods used were rather basic by today’s methods and by 1939 only about 100,000 were manufactured (in the USA).

As World War II took hold, the need for precise frequency control components for use in Military Radios and Radars generated a surge in engineering and manufacturing of highly developed Quartz Oscillator Frequency Control Devices.

Quartz Crystal as such became a valuable, essential material for war time electronics. The source of this substance came largely from South America, Brazil.

4. What's Next?

Although Crystal Oscillators still commonly use quartz crystals, devices employing other materials are becoming more prevalent, for instance ceramic resonators. These can be fabricated in commercial amounts and present characteristics much like quartz crystal oscillators but at a cheaper cost.

Euroquartz Ltd are designers and manufacturers of frequency control devices including http://www.euroquartz.co.uk. It's complete manufacturing service offers:-

UK based design engineers

On site production facilities

Quick delivery

Low cost

Stockholding of standard products

Quality assured production process - ISO 9001 certification

Contact details:

Euroquartz Limited, Blacknell Lane, Crewkerne, Somerset UK TA18 7HE

Tel: +44(0)1460 230000,

website: http://www.euroquartz.co.uk

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