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What is crystal device?

Because crystal devices such as quartz crystal units and quartz crystal oscillators have high
stability against an environment change such as temperature, they are used as frequency
control devices in electronic circuits. From smartphones, digital still cameras, automobiles,
medical devices, to Ubiquitous Network, the product category for crystal devices are becoming
wider.

Mystical Quartz Crystals?Surprisingly Practical


Of precious stones, crystals are relatively familiar. They are used in traditional crafts, jewelry,
and even mystical crystal balls. But quartz crystals are also key objects in modern lifestyles,
where they fulfill a vital role in smartphones and other mobile phones, digital cameras, and
automotive electronics.

Discovery of a Key Effect


Composed of silicon dioxide, these clear, colorless crystals are piezoelectric, generating a
voltage when their structures are deformed. Subjecting quartz crystals to mechanical stresses
generates a charge across the surface, a phenomenon known as the piezoelectric effect
(illustrated at left below). This effect is reversible; applying a voltage can deform crystals
(illustrated at right below). Discovered more than a century ago by French physicists Pierre
and Jacques Curie, this effect is harnessed by quartz crystal components.

Characteristics of Quartz Crystal Components


Applying an electric field to crystal wafers cut at specific angles causes them to oscillate at
constant frequencies. Due to their purity, quartz crystals continue to generate very stable
oscillation frequencies. Electric signals derived from these frequencies are used in electric
circuits of many kinds. Quartz crystal components are extremely stable at various temperatures
and other environmental conditions. For this reason, they are used in electronics that must
operate at precise frequencies. Without accurate computers, smartphones, or navigation
systems, life as we know it would certainly be different. We enjoy the benefits of quartz crystal
oscillation without knowing it.

Roles of Quartz Crystal Components


Although the roles fulfilled by quartz crystal components may vary by component, all are
critical. It is no exaggeration to say their use in electronics is all but universal. Here, we describe
quartz crystal units and oscillators, as manufactured by RIVER ELETEC, which primarily fulfill
the following two roles in electronics:

Maintaining stable frequencies

Producing steady reference signals


The first role? Maintaining stable frequencies? Is essential for radios, televisions, mobile
phones, and other devices that rely on wireless signals. These products cannot send or receive
information unless they operate at the specific designed frequency. For example, the radio
frequency spectrum is subdivided into precise frequency bands assigned to mobile phones to
allow many people to communicate with base stations in the same area at the same time. If
phones operate at the wrong frequencies, crosstalk and interference result, preventing
communication. Quartz crystal units and oscillators oscillate at constant frequencies, providing
a reference signal for stable device operation at specific frequencies. This enables devices to
send and receive signals at the frequency they were designed for.
The second role is to produce steady reference signals. Most electronic systems consist of
multiple parts. Computers comprise hard disks, internal memory, optical drives, and other
peripheral circuitry, as well as a CPU. Although forming a single system, these systems serve
different purposes. Unless the timing of their operation is coordinated efficiently, the system
as a whole will not function as designed. This timing requires a steady clock signal. Quartz
crystal units and oscillators produce this signal, acting in a sense in the same way a conductor
directs a symphony orchestra.

Roles of quartz crystal units and oscillators can be further summarized as follows:

Unexpected Prevalence of Quartz Crystal Components

As a core part in electronics, quartz crystal components are used across a wide range of
products. On average, a single digital camera incorporates three quartz crystal components.
And as electronics gain more features or more advanced features, they are likely to use more
quartz crystal components. The market for quartz crystal components is all but certain to
continue expanding.