Special Feature: The Potential of Timing Devices

A Hidden Driving Force for Teamwork A norm enables everyone to dance dynamically without bumping into each other

Murata cheerleaders now begin to move and dance to music.
Their collective performance is only possible if all the members dance in the same tempo. Timing devices likewise set a tempo in electronic equipment.
Murata cheerleaders move flawlessly without bumping into each other because each of them has a timing device to synchronize all of their signals. Timing devices are one of the components that play a key role in the rapid diffusion of electronics.

What are timing devices?

What Are Timing Devices?

Every piece of various electronic equipment incorporates a number of electronic circuits. A clock signal-a stable signal that oscillates at regular intervals, i.e., at a stable cycle-is necessary for such circuits to work properly. In other words, the electronic circuits operate with reference to a clock signal. The clock signal not only provides them with timing cues to enable them to deliver their functions; it also allows them to coordinate or synchronize with the peripheral controller. The timing device generates such a reference signal that oscillates at a constant cycle. It is indispensable for ensuring the proper function of electronic equipment. In most timing devices, the core element is made of ceramics or crystal.

Five microphones and four sensors determine the cheerleader's current location Communication module Transmission of ultrasonic waves and infrared light Ultrasonic sensor

Why Don't they Bump into Each Other?

In various formations, individual Murata cheerleaders move differently without bumping into each other. This is because each cheerleader has five ultrasonic microphones and four infrared sensors in its head, which receive the ultrasonic waves and infrared light sent out from the two transmitters placed on the “stage” to determine the dancer's current location accurately in real time. Timing devices provide these electronic devices with signals for transmitting information at the right time and speed as well as continuous synchronization signals. This is how they help the cheerleaders avoid bumping into each other.

Why Don't they Bump into Each Other?

Operating Principles and Types of Timing Devices

The piezoelectric effect refers to the accumulation of electric charge in certain solid materials in response to applied mechanical stress. The inverse piezoelectric effect represents the internal generation of a mechanical strain resulting from an applied electrical field. Applying these principles to quartz crystal and ceramics makes it possible to generate oscillations with stable frequencies.

CERALOCK ceramic resonators

These vibrating elements exploiting the mechanical resonance of piezoelectric ceramics facilitate downsizing and mass production, thus finding use in a range of applications such as automobile electronics, consumer equipment, and home appliances.

Crystal devices

Crystal devices are grouped by application, type, and/or function.
Quartz crystals: elements that utilize stable crystal to generate oscillation with a constant frequency.
Crystal oscillators: modules packaging a circuit for oscillating the quartz crystal.

  • SPXO (Simple Packaged Xtal (Crystal) Oscillator)
    The most basic oscillator combining a quartz crystal with an oscillating circuit.
  • TCXO (Temperature Compensated Xtal (Crystal) Oscillator)
    Provides a highly stable signal combining the temperature characteristic of the quartz crystal with a circuit having the completely opposite temperature characteristic. Increased downsizing allows TCXOs to find extensive use in feature phones and smartphones.
  • VCXO (Voltage Controlled Xtal (Crystal) Oscillator)
    Applies external voltage to control oscillator output frequency. These oscillators find use in industrial equipment including communication relays.
  • OCXO (Oven Controlled Xtal (Crystal) Oscillator)
    The most precise and stable oscillator. The quartz crystal, which has a zero temperature gradient at high temperatures, is kept at a constant temperature to generate a stable signal. OCXOs are used at base stations for mobile phones and in broadcasting equipment and measuring instruments.

Two Types of Resonating Material

Polycrystals (ceramics)

Most ceramics are comprised of fine crystals. Each crystal is comprised of atoms with a positive or negative electrical charge. With the application of a high DC voltage, the polar axes generated by spontaneous polarization are aligned in a uniform direction, turning the ceramic into a piezoelectric ceramic having a polycrystalline structure.

Polycrystals (ceramics)

Monocrystal (quartz crystal)

Quartz crystal is a piezoelectric monocrystal. Its low levels of crystal defects and impurities mean high frequency-temperature characteristic.The production of artificial crystal attaches particular importance to quality. The aim is to achieve properties close to those of natural crystal by minimizing the levels of crystal defects and impurities.

Monocrystal (quartz crystal)

The Potential of Timing Device Technology in Our Everyday Life

Integrated in networks, modern electronic devices can only communicate with each other by mutually synchronizing their signals. Timing devices play their unnoticed but indispensable role in various areas of our daily life, serving as clock signal sources for digital circuits. They have been developed continually with the progress in digital technology. Sustained development is now allowing them to expand their applications.

Timing Devices in Our Everyday Life

Timing devices are finding increasing use in our everyday life.

Timing Devices and Crystal Technology

Growing Artificial Crystal

Quartz crystal is used as the core of a timing device. Murata produces high quality artificial crystal.

Oscillation Modes

The required frequency varies depending on the electronic circuit. Murata provides the best match by combining material, polarization processing, size and shape.


Murata has long developed unique packaging technology. Boasting high productivity and strong miniaturization capability, this technology has been applied to crystal to create innovative products.


The unique packaging technology developed for ceramic resonators has been applied to introduce an innovative screening process in quartz crystal production.


The broad range of applications makes advance simulation an important phase of development. Here, Murata employs unique software to achieve accurate results.

History of Murata Timing Devices

The history of Murata timing devices can be traced to the 1950s, when the company applied its piezoelectric ceramic technology to developing an ultrasonic resonator. In 1961, Murata took advantage of its original technology to launch a ceramic filter (CERAFIL) for AM radios, which was followed by the commercialization of the CERALOCK series of ceramic resonators and the registration of the name as a trademark. These developments formed the basis for Murata timing device technology. In 2009, Murata formed a capital alliance with the crystal device manufacturer Tokyo Denpa Co., Ltd. (TEW), before starting the development of crystal-based devices. The packaging technology and production system developed for the CERALOCK series allowed Murata to achieve a breakthrough. The company integrated the two core technologies for a timing device to complete the HCR series of resin-sealed quartz crystals, creating a sensation in the industry. The broadening range of hermetically sealed high-precision variants has helped open up a new market for Murata quartz crystals.

Please click here (PDF: 183KB)