Epson Toyocom Develops the World’s Thinnest kHz-band Crystal Unit
Epson Toyocom Corporation (“Epson Toyocom”), the leader in crystal devices, has succeeded in commercially developing the world’s thinnest* kHz-band crystal unit. The new tuning-fork crystal unit, called the FC-13E, has a maximum thickness of just 0.48 mm.
The FC-13E surpasses even the company’s own FC-13F, which, with a maximum thickness of 0.6 mm, was the thinnest crystal unit in its class when it was announced in January 2007. Epson Toyocom was able to further slim the profile of its crystal units in this class by leveraging its QMEMS*1 technology to develop an ultra-miniature tuning-fork crystal chip, as well as by capitalizing on its proprietary packaging technology. The FC-13E will enter volume production in June 2008.
The market for high-function, secure smart cards*2 has been expanding in recent years. This expansion has driven strong demand for thin cards, most notably credit cards, equipped with a time management function, the key component of which is a kHz-band crystal unit. The challenge for crystal device manufacturers was thus to develop an SMD-type kHz-band crystal unit with a thickness of less than 0.5 mm.
Epson Toyocom is answering these demands with the FC-13E, which the company achieved by leveraging its QMEMS technology to develop an ultra-miniature tuning-fork crystal chip that is precision mounted in a package. The material thickness of the package has been optimized, and the package is hermetically sealed with a gold-tin alloy. The FC-13E is approximately 20% thinner than its predecessor, the FC-13F. By trimming the maximum thickness down to 0.48 mm from 0.6 mm, Epson Toyocom is enabling the realization of secure, thin smart cards equipped with a time management function. Frequency tolerance, an indicator of accuracy, is ±100 x 10-6. The FC-13E is EU RoHS compliant.
*As of June 11, 2008. Based on Epson Toyocom research.
QMEMS is a combination of “Quartz,” a crystalline material with excellent characteristics such as high stability and high precision, and “MEMS” (micro electro mechanical system). QMEMS quartz devices are created using quartz material instead of the semiconductors used by MEMS. We perform precision microfabrication on the quartz material to offer high performance in a compact package. QMEMS is a registered trademark of Epson Toyocom.
*2 smart card
Any card-like device with embedded IC chips. A smart card is a plastic card the size of a credit card that typically has an embedded CPU, memory, security circuits and other IC chips. Smart cards are equipped with advanced computing capability that enables encryption of on-board information.
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