Preparation and Characterization of Piezoelectric Films of ZnO and AlN by RF Sputtering for RF MEMS Applications
In present work, we report preparation and characterization of piezoelectric films of zinc oxide (ZnO) and aluminum nitride (AlN) by RF magnetron sputtering using respective ceramic targets. The effect of ambient gas, substrate temperature, RF power and sputtering pressure has been studied to get highly c-axis oriented films for potential applications in micro-electromechanical systems. The films were characterized by X-ray diffraction technique to identify the crystallographic orientation. It was observed that the film deposited in pure Argon (Ar) ambient were amorphous or weekly crystallized with no preferred (002) orientation. On the other hand, the films prepared in Ar-O2 for ZnO were highly c-axis oriented. Similarly AlN films were observed to be oriented along c-axis perpendicular to substrate only when deposited in mixture of Ar-N2. To demonstrate the application of piezoelectric properties, an FBAR device (Film Bulk Acoustic Resonator) using ZnO thin film was fabricated. ZnO films are very sensitive to the chemicals used in the micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) fabrication processes which include acids, bases and etchants of different material layers (e.g. SiO2, chromium, gold etc.). A specially designed mechanical jig was used for physically protecting the film during Si anisotropic etching process in potassium hydroxide solution. The potential applications of these films in various RF MEMS devices have been discussed.
S. Chandra, A. Vir Singh, "Preparation and Characterization of Piezoelectric Films of ZnO and AlN by RF Sputtering for RF MEMS Applications", Key Engineering Materials, Vol. 500, pp. 84-89, 2012