MSc thesis project proposal

[2023] Readout ASIC for High-Accuracy Temperature-Compensated MEMS-based Oscillators

Clocks are the heartbeat of intelligent gadgets. Conventionally, clock signals are generated using quartz crystal oscillators (XO). Recently, MEMS oscillators have been commercialized with great success, as they have smaller form factors, consume less power, and cost less, yet they are more stable and accurate than XOs. Therefore, it has become a technological trend that MEMS oscillators are replacing the XOs in a wide range of smart systems, from iPhones to 5G stations [1, 2]. However, the MEMS oscillator architectures have remained largely unchanged over the past few decades, amid strong market demands for MEMS oscillators with even better performance (e.g., stability and accuracy). 

Recently, a novel MEMS-based oscillator architecture has been proposed [3]. Compared to conventional MEMS oscillators, the new architecture allows the excitation of multiple modes. This enables many new possibilities, including but not limited to: (1) self-temperature compensation, where the MEMS device generating clock frequency can also act as a thermometer in itself (reducing power consumption, size and cost, also improving temperature compensation efficiency); (2) multiple clock frequency generation using only one MEMS oscillator (reducing power consumption, size and cost, also improving efficiency). Despite all of the intriguing potential of this novel idea, it has yet to be implemented in ASIC. Furthermore, there is much room for improvement and optimization, in terms of architecture and performance.

In this project, we will further improve the new MEMS-based oscillator system, mainly on the readout ASIC. We are going to investigate new methods of improving the overall architecture, as well as individual building blocks, e.g., trans-impedance amplifiers and phase-locked loops, with the aim of minimizing power consumption and electronic noise.  In collaboration with the University of York in the UK, we will integrate a high-accuracy temperature-compensated oscillator, consisting of a new ASIC readout architecture and a new MEMS resonator.


  1. Literature review of circuit architectures of the novel MEMS-based oscillator and associated IC design techniques.
  2. Design of a high-accuracy temperature-compensated CMOS circuit for the proposed MEMS-based oscillator system. Tape-out is possible depending on the design and available time.


You should be familiar with analog IC design and Cadence environment. If you are interested, please send your CV, BSc transcripts and MSc grades (obtained to date) to Sijun Du at email: 


dr. Sijun Du

Electronic Instrumentation Group

Department of Microelectronics

Last modified: 2023-01-04