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Material parameter extraction for complex AlScN thin film using dual mode resonators in combination with advanced microstructural analysis and finite element modeling

: Parsapour, Fazel; Pashchenko, Vladimir; Kurz, Nicolas; Sandu, Cosmin Silviu; LaGrange, Thomas; Yamashita, Kaoru; Lebedev, Vadim; Muralt, Paul


Advanced electronic materials 5 (2019), No.5, Art. 1800776, 9 pp.
ISSN: 2199-160X
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IAF ()

Accurate property determination of the piezoelectric thin film material Al(1−x)Sc(x)N is necessary for designing the next generation of radio frequency resonators in mobile communication, and for testing results of ab initio calculations. Sound velocity and piezoelectric coupling of both longitudinal and shear mode are evaluated from a single dual mode resonator. This assures a compatible set of coefficients. It is observed that AlScN thin films grew differently on small, isolated bottom electrodes. The investigated film starts growing with a slightly tilted, c‐textured microstructure, and switches after 200 nm to a polycrystalline film with irregularly oriented grains having c‐axis tilt angles in the range of 35°–70°, as revealed by transmission electron microscope nanodiffraction mapping. Based on this information, a finite element model (FEM) is constructed that properly reproduces the resonance behavior of the resonator. The relevant elastic and piezoelectric constants are derived by curve fitting and yield somewhat lower stiffness and higher piezoelectric coefficients than ab initio calculations published in the literature. The FEM modeling results show that the upper film part with the abnormally oriented grains is overall piezoelectric, i.e., the misoriented grains maintain the polarity projected onto the growth direction from the starting layer.