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Overview of SAW Devices
A surface acoustic wave (SAW), also called a Rayleigh wave, is essentially a coupling between longitudinal and shear waves. The energy carried by the SAW is confined near the surface. An associated electrostatic wave exists for a SAW on a piezoelectric substrate, which allows electro-acoustic coupling via a transducer.
There is a very broad range of commercial system applications, which include front-end and IF (Intermediate Frequency) filters, CATV (Community Antenna Television) and VCR (Video Cassette Recorder) components, synthesizers, analyzers and navigators. In SAW transducers, finger (interdigital) electrodes can sample or tap the wave and the electrode gap gives the relative delay. SAW resonators may be configured electrically as one-port or two-port networks. Their operation is based around the judicious use of SAW reflection gratings to form resonant structures. A SAW filter is composed of a minimum of two transducers.
SAW resonators are used in many of the same applications in which quartz crystals are used, because they can operate at higher frequency. They are often used in radio transmitters where tunability is not required. They are often used in applications such as garage door opener remote controls, short range radio frequency links for computer peripherals, and other devices where channelization is not required. Where a radio link might use several channels, quartz crystal oscillators are more commonly used to drive a phase locked loop. Since the resonant frequency of a SAW device is set by the mechanical properties of the crystal, it does not drift as much as a simple LC oscillator, where conditions such as capacitor performance and battery voltage will vary substantially with temperature and age.
SAW filters are also often used in radio receivers, as they can have precisely determined and narrow passbands. This is helpful in applications where a single antenna must be shared between a transmitter and a receiver operating at closely spaced frequencies. SAW filters are also frequently used in television receivers, for extracting subcarriers from the signal; until the analog switchoff, the extraction of digital audio subcarriers from the intermediate frequency strip of a television receiver or video recorder was one of the main markets for SAW filters.
SAW filters are used in mobile telephones, and provide technical advantages in performance, cost, and size over other filter technologies such as quartz crystals (based on bulk waves), LC filters, and waveguide filters specifically at frequencies below 1.5-2.5 GHz depending on the RF power needed to be filtered. Complementing technology to SAW for frequencies above 1.5-2.5 GHz is based on thin-film bulk acoustic resonators (TFBAR, or FBAR).
The application defines the SAW filter characteristics. For each application certain national or international regulations or end costumer specifications have to be considered. Please contact Hy-Q to discuss your specific requirements.
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