Passive Mechanical Frequency Divider


Executive Summary


Passive frequency conversion is an essential component for sensor networks and is ideal for critical applications requiring low power and good phase noise characteristics, such as in frequency synthesizers. Researchers at Michigan State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara have created a unique solution to address these requirements – a passive mechanical frequency divider with superior noise and power characteristics compared to electronic frequency dividers.  This novel technology has great potential for application in all kinds of communication devices as it is ideal for electronics in which timing is important.


Description of Technology


The passive mechanical frequency divider is based upon MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) to create a very small and robust design fabricated from silicon. The frequency divider functions by utilizing the nonlinear kinetics in a cascaded system to create multiple efficient modes which divide the frequency in 2n modes. This novel technology does not require an external power source to work and has excellent noise characteristics.


Key Benefits

  • Small Size: Current passive frequency dividers are large compared to MEMS resonators.
  • Multiple Modes: Divide-by-2n (2, 4, 8, 16, & etc.) modes.
  • Passive Divider: Requires no external power source to work.
  • Performance: Superior noise and power characteristics compared to electronic devices.



  • Applications requiring accurate timing – such as communication devices.


Patent Status: 


Patent issued. no. 9,716,485


Licensing Rights Available


Full licensing rights available.


Inventors: Steven Shaw, Brian Turner, Kimberly Turner, Kamala Qalandar.


Tech ID: TEC2014-0121


Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Brian Wright
Associate Director
Michigan State University