And the winner is … SiTime Founder and Chief Scientist Dr. Aaron Partridge
Posted By: Judy Ash

Recipient of the IEEE C. B. Sawyer Memorial Award for outstanding contributions in frequency control

This month we celebrate Dr. Aaron Partridge, SiTime’s chief scientist and cofounder, for winning the prestigious C. B. Sawyer Memorial Award. This award recognizes entrepreneurial and technical leadership in the field of timing references, and for extensive service to the frequency control community.

Aaron Partridge at SiTime

“Aaron embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and leadership that are helping to drive the frequency control industry forward in the 21st century,” said Elizabeth Donley, Ph.D., Chief of the Time and Frequency Division, NIST. “Aaron’s MEMS packaging innovations have had an enormous impact on the future of our industry. During his tenure at SiTime, he was instrumental in creating the world’s first commercially viable MEMS-based oscillators. His contributions to the IEEE frequency control community have also inspired a generation of scientists and engineers.”

The path of innovation and entrepreneurship

Aaron, along with CTO Markus Lutz, cofounded SiTime in 2005 at a time when the electronics industry sought more reliable, higher precision alternatives to 100-year-old quartz-based timing technology. SiTime’s cofounders pioneered the development of MEMS-based timing references and launched the industry’s first commercially viable MEMS timing products.

cross section of a MEMS resonator

Cross section of a miniature silicon MEMS resonator captured by a scanning electron microscope

These products were made possible with groundbreaking innovations in the design and manufacturing of the silicon MEMS resonator. By applying a layer of EpiSeal™ over a MEMS resonator, our cofounders created a super-clean, fully encapsulated silicon device using a revolutionary MEMS First™ process that made resonators much more durable and reliable. While other companies have made numerous attempts at this type of innovation, the collaboration of our cofounders resulted in a miniature MEMS device sealed within an ultra-clean vacuum that is designed for manufacturability at scale.

Over the past 18 years, SiTime has grown to be a leading oscillator company, outperforming all incumbent quartz suppliers. SiTime now supplies kHz and MHz oscillators, temperature-compensated oscillators (TCXOs), oven-controlled oscillators (OCXOs), multi-output timing systems, and a range of programmable clocks products. From a single experimental resonator, SiTime is now the leader in MEMS-based precision timing solutions, with over 3.5 billion units shipped and more than $1 billion in cumulative revenue.

More about Aaron

Aaron's broad and long-standing support of the IEEE frequency control community is evidenced in his many roles at IEEEspanning events, editorial positions and standards groups. He has served on the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference, Imagers, MEMS, Medical and Displays Subcommittee. He has been the editorial chair of the IEEE International Frequency Control Symposium. Aaron has held other key editorial roles at IEEE and served in various IEEE standards working groups.

Prior to cofounding SiTime, Aaron was the MEMS resonator and packaging research project manager at Robert Bosch Research and Technology Center. He received B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Aaron holds over 110 patents and has authored over 55 scientific papers.

We applaud Aaron’s many pioneering accomplishments and are extremely proud that IEEE has recognized his far-reaching impact on the frequency control industry with this coveted award. Solving the impossible is in Aaron's DNA. The electronics industry can expect many more precision timing breakthroughs in the years ahead.


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