LNMO Low Noise Master Oscillator Qualification

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  • Status date
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The objective of these projected 24 months activities is to industrialize, manufacture and qualify the compact, lightweight, low-cost and Low Noise Master Oscillators (LNMO), which has been developed in the frame of an ARTES 5.1 project, contract N°4200023116, by testing 16 Engineering Qualification Models (EQM) at 5MHz, 10MHz, 20MHz and 40MHz. To cover the whole frequency range only one crystal holder has been used (HC37), instead of 3 initially planned (HC40, HC37 and HC35). 
These equipments shall be free of ITAR license control for use in worldwide space programs.


The key issues addressed in LNMO project are:

  • Reach phase noise requirements from 1Hz to 100kHz over the whole frequency range (5MHz to 40MHz)

  • Find solutions using ITAR free parts. 

  • Validate several crystal suppliers with at least one European.

  • Cost reduction to gain market share


The expected benefits brought by LNMO project are:

  • An available qualified European ITAR free solution

  • An improvement of phase noise behavior, better than current competitors’ solutions (see target in dBc/Hz):

LNMO benefits

  • Consumption, size and weight reduction

  • A design 100% compliant to the identified customers requirements; none from the identified competitors is compliant at 100%.


Key Features 

  • Very small mass and volume        

  • Low noise         

  • Low temperature sensitivity

  • Fast warm-up

  • Wide operating temperature

  • Pre-adjusted frequency and/or voltage controlled.

  • Frequency Range: 5MHz to 40MHz

  • Supply voltage:12V or 15V

  • Low g sensitivity 


  • Transponder

  • Radar

  • FGU

  • Synthesizer

  • Converters

  • GPS Receiver

  • Navigation

  • OBC

System Architecture

LNMO current design

Size: 50x50x30mm

Weight: 100 - 110 grams (depends on pin configuration)

LNMO system architecture

In the gray area of the block diagram are all the thermal sensitive functions which shall be implanted on the heated board.

Thermo-mechanical structure

The oven will be done by:

  • a small oven used to heat and fix the crystal resonator

  • a ground plane used to heat the PCB and the sensitive parts

  • machining a few slots on the PCB for thermal insulation

LNMO system architecture


 The plan is divided in two phases:

Phase 1: Requirements review and design 

  • Task 1: Requirements, Technology and Design Modifications Review. Validation of LLI parts list.


  • Task 2: Detailed LNMO current design improvement:

    • 5 MHz and 20MHz (SC overtone 3), 40MHz (SC overtone 5) crystals specifications in HC37 holder

    • Adding option of a second supply voltage.

      • Vs for signal generation supply

      • Vp for oven supply

  • Task 3: BBM manufacturing at 20MHz and 40MHz

  • Task 4: LLI purchasing and Crystals pre-irradiation

  • Task 5: Update MATV plan including crystal pre-irradiation process

  • Task 6: Establishment of the preliminary qualification test plan


Phase 2: Qualification

  • Phase 2 A: EQM Manufacture, Assembly, Tuning

    • Task 7: EQM manufacturing

    • Task 8: Finalization and validation of qualification test plan and test procedures



  • Phase 2 B: Qualification tests 

    • Task 9: Environmental tests (vibration, thermal and mechanical shocks)

    • Task 10: Irradiation tests 

    • Task 11: Thermal vacuum cycle

    • Task 12: EMC tests

    • Task 13: life test

    • Task 14: Overall Assessment and Recommendations


Current status

Project completed.