Pierce-gate oscillator

Posted on Sep 15, 2012

The Pierce-gate oscillator of Figure 1 is well recognized by most designers, but few understand how to specify the crystal correctly. The crystal used in the topology of Figure 1 can be either a fundamental AT-CUT or BT-CUT. A BT-CUT crystal has poor frequency stability over temperature compared to an AT-CUT. This topology uses a parallel crystal and not a series crystal. When a parallel crystal is specified, the crystal manufacturer will also require that you specify a load capacitance.

Pierce-gate oscillator
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To understand load capacitance, think of a series LC circuit where the crystal is the L and the load capacitance is the C. The resonance frequency of the LC circuit will vary as a function of L and C. But in the crystal case, the L is fixed (temperatur

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