High-Shock MEMS Precision Frequency Reference (PREFER)

Period of Performance: 11/02/2015 - 09/02/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nuwaves Ltd.
122 Edison Drive
Middletown, OH 45044
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


The U.S. Navy requires a robust oscillator replacement for quartz crystal temperature-compensated crystal oscillator (TCXO). Most systems rely on a single quartz oscillator for timekeeping during such events. Quartz oscillators are very useful in this capacity and have superior electrical properties to other technologies, such as stability and phase noise. However, quartz is very sensitive to mechanical stock and rapid temperature changes ? especially when used in high-velocity gun-launched guided projectiles. Due to shortcomings in harsh environments, a reliable and robust time and frequency source alternative is needed to sustain operation for mission-critical navigation and communication systems.<br><br>Microelectromechanical system (MEMS) oscillators ? although still in their developmental infancy ? have similar beneficial electrical properties to quartz. However, MEMS are less susceptible to damage due to mechanical shock and/or temperature extremes than quartz primarily due to lower mass and different material properties. This makes a temperature-compensated MEMS oscillator (TCMO) a very attractive option for gun-launched projectiles, such as the Navy?s Hypervelocity Projectile.<br><br>NuWaves Engineering, along with academic subcontracting partner, the University of Virginia (UVA), propose the High-Shock MEMS PREcision FrEquency Reference (PREFER) project to develop a state-of-the-art MEMS oscillator by leveraging the Team?s expertise in advanced MEMS design and fabrication, oscillator and RF module design, development, manufacturing and testing.