Timing Field

Internal crystal oscillators are in many of the electrical products all around us. These miniature components must not only be accurate, but must also consume minimal power and operate stably over long periods of time, even under extreme thermal conditions.
With high precision, low power consumption, and superior thermal performance, NPC's timing ICs will enable the smart society of the future, which will demand accurate timing and efficient energy use.

Timing Products

Sensor Field

Sensors can convert various events that occur in our surroundings into electrical signals.
NPC's sensor ICs can accurately detect delicate and slight changes that are imperceptible to humans, and smartly enable prosperous and convenient lifestyles.

Sensor Products

Timing Field

What is a crystal oscillator?

In contrast to semiconductors, which are known as the "rice of industry" due to their crucial importance to electronic devices, crystal oscillators are also known as the "salt of industry," and are used in all types of electronic devices, most notably smart phones.
A crystal oscillator is a package containing a crystal resonator, which uses the piezoelectricity of a crystal to generate a certain frequency, and a circuit for oscillating the resonator, and this circuit is called a crystal oscillator IC. Components making up electronic devices number in the hundreds to tens of thousands, but they are not free to move on their own.
Each component moves in step and according to a certain rhythm, and the clock assumes the role of conducting it all.
The clock is to provide a constant timing signal at a precise time and speed, and the device that creates this clock is the crystal oscillator.
Although a clock is an extremely small component, it plays a very important role, and there are many types of clocks with different configurations, features, and operating specifications, depending on how they are integrated into the electronic equipment.
It is also drawing considerable attention as an electronic component that will play an important role in the coming 5G era.

【Crystal Oscillator 】

What would a smartphone be like without a crystal oscillator?

What specifically would we be missing out on without a "crystal oscillator" in our handy smartphones?
The electronic circuits in smartphones operate based on "clock signals" that cycle stably at regular intervals. A smartphone is made up of a mix of electronic circuits that play different roles. The functions of a smartphone cannot be accomplished unless these electronic circuits run at the same tempo.
The "clock signal" is used for this tempo, and the crystal oscillator is used to generate the clock signal.
In the main unit of a smartphone, functions such as voice and data transmission/reception, signal processing, and screen display operate via teamwork. But if there were no crystal oscillator, the tempo could not be maintained and, for example, audio signals could not be output as sound, received data could not be displayed on the screen as text messages, and an email could not be sent even if it were created on the screen. In short, it would by no means be capable of functioning as a smartphone.
In addition, the clock in a smartphone is able to keep accurate time thanks to circuits that can run based on the frequency of the “clock signal.” Without the “clock signal,” the one second and one minute intervals would be indiscernible, and the clock would be unusable.
How is a 5G “crystal oscillator” different from a conventional one?
Under the 5G standard, enormous volumes of information will be able to be processed at higher speeds than in the past.
Concretely, it is claimed that the communication speed is 20 times faster than 4G, while latency is 1/10 of 4G, and the number of devices connected concurrently is 10 times greater than with 4G. In this case, it is necessary to have a device that can achieve high speed and capacity, ultra-high reliability and low latency, and multiple simultaneous connections."
To support these high standards, crystal oscillators are required to generate high-frequency clock signals with excellent operating reliability and frequency stability. Meanwhile, to reduce battery drain and heat generation in mounted devices, the crystal oscillator also must consume less power. When 5G becomes pervasive, various things will be connected to the network (so-called IoT), and it is anticipated that our lives will become more convenient as we are connected everywhere.

Sensor Field

Strengths of our Sensor Products

  • Noise contained in the minute signals output from the sensor element is removed and the necessary signal components are extracted.
    Automatic adjustment of individual variations (gain, offset, sensitivity) ensures stable signal output.
  • The temperature characteristics of the sensor element are compensated on the IC side, making it independent of the environmental temperature.

Explanation of optical encoders

Optical encoders are sensor modules that detect how far an object has moved, its position and displacement, and can measure horizontal and vertical linear (linear) and rotary (rotary) movement depending on the shape of the combined scale.
The encoder principle includes magnetic and electromagnetic induction, but our products are optical, which can be adapted to a wide range of industries. Optical encoders consist of an LED light-emitting element, a light-receiving element and a control IC, and are characterised by extremely low wear and deterioration and high reliability, as they can be installed non-contact to the object. To measure the amount of movement, LED light is irradiated onto a pattern on a linear or rotary scale fixed to the object, the reflection of which is received by the light-receiving element, converted into an electronic signal and output. The signal emitted from the light-receiving element contains A- and B-phase channels, with the B-phase outputting 1/4 cycle later than the A-phase, and the direction of travel or rotation can be determined by determining the channel that rises first. The structure of optical encoders can be either transmissive, where a scale is sandwiched between the light emitter and receiver, or reflective, where the light emitter and receiver are integrated into a single unit.

Explanation of infrared sensors

Infrared sensors are sensor modules that convert the infrared (wavelengths from 0.78 to 1000 µm) energy emitted by an object into radiant temperature and output it.
The principle of infrared sensors can be divided into thermal and quantum types, and our products are classified as thermal.
The thermoelectromotive force (thermopile: thermoelectromotive effect) is used to detect the absolute amount of energy (temperature) when the infrared radiation emitted from an object is received.
Thermopile-type infrared sensors consist of a silicon (Si) lens, an array sensor and a control IC, and are characterised by their ability to observe an object from a distance with high accuracy and low power consumption.
Have you ever had the experience of a light automatically switching on when you enter a toilet, only to turn off when you remain still in the private room?
In contrast to pyroelectric sensors, which become stable and stop responding when the object is stationary, thermopile sensors are suitable for fixed-point observations because they continue to capture radiant energy.

What is optical sensor?

Optical sensor could detect the strength of the light and convert it to the electrical signals. It may contain the light receiving device, measurement circuit, light emitting device and light emission control circuit etc. Optical sensor could be classified as either 『 Transmissive type 』 or 『 Reflective type 』. And it will allow non destructive observation and inspection.
Examples of light emitting devices are LED and Laser diode. And examples of light receiving devices are photo diode and photo transistor.

Electrical changes could be observed depending on the strength of the light or spectrum on the light receiving devices. These changes could be measured by measurement circuit and will be output as electrical analog or digital signal through signal processing circuit.

Light source consists of light emitting device and light emission control circuit. Not only visible light but also near infrared light which is invisible light could be used for this measurement.

Seiko NPC has developed spot sensor and linear image sensor as optical sensor products.
  • Spot sensor

    Spot sensor consists of single pixel light receiving device and amplifier circuit. It can be used as pseudo linear image sensor when the multiple spot sensors are placed in line.

    Spot sensor
    Spot sensor
  • Linear image sensor

    Linear image sensor is the sensor which multiple light receiving devices are placed in one dimension. CMOS sensor and amplifier circuit is adopted for this device. It can be used to capture the image or to detect the position.

    Linear image sensor
    Linear image sensor
  • Area image sensor

    Area image sensor is the sensor which light receiving devices are placed in two dimensions.