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Smart ultrasonic sensors systems: Potential of aluminum nitride thin films for the excitation of the ultrasound at high frequencies

: Walter, Susan; Herzog, Thomas; Heuer, Henning; Bartzsch, Hagen; Gloess, Daniel


Microsystem Technologies 18 (2012), No.7-8, pp.1193-1199
ISSN: 0946-7076
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IZFP, Institutsteil Dresden ( IKTS-MD) ()
Fraunhofer FEP ()

We investigated the potential of the aluminum nitride films to excite ultrasonic waves at frequencies >50 MHz. The deposition process of the aluminum nitride thin film layers on silicon substrates was investigated and optimized regarding their piezoelectric behavior. Large single element transducers were deposited on silicon substrates with aluminum electrodes, under different parameters for the magnetron sputter process, like pressure and bias voltage. Special test setup and a measuring station were created to characterize the sensors. Acoustical measurements were carried out in pulse echo mode up to 500 MHz and the values of piezoelectric charge constant (d 33) were determined. As a result, two parameter sets were found for the sputtering process to obtain an excellent piezoelectric charge constant of about 7.2 pC/N maximum. Then the sputtering process with these parameters was used to deposit sensors on various substrate materials and with different electrode sizes.