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Electro-optical characterization of IC compatible microcantilevers

: Pérez-Campos, A.; Iriarte, G.F.; Lebedev, V.; Calle, F.


Microsystem Technologies 22 (2016), Nr.10, S.2467-2474
ISSN: 0946-7076
Fraunhofer IAF ()

The aim of this work is to simulate and optically characterize the piezoelectric performance of complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) compatible microcantilevers based on aluminium nitride (AlN) and manufactured at room temperature. This study should facilitate the integration of piezoelectric micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) such as microcantilevers, in CMOS technology. Besides compatibility with standard integrated circuit manufacturing procedures, low temperature processing also translates into higher throughput and, as a consequence, lower manufacturing costs. Thus, the use of the piezoelectric properties of AlN manufactured by reactive sputtering at room temperature is an important step towards the integration of this type of devices within future CMOS technology standards. To assess the reliability of our fabrication process, we have manufactured arrays of free-standing microcantilever beams of variable dimension and studied their piezoelectric performance. The characterization of the first out-of-plane modes of AlN-actuated piezoelectric microcantilevers has been carried out using two optical techniques: laser Doppler vibrometry (LDV) and white light interferometry (WLI). In order to actuate the cantilevers, a periodic chirp signal in certain frequency ranges was applied between the device electrodes. The nature of the different vibration modes detected has been studied and compared with that obtained by a finite element model based simulation (COMSOL Multiphysics), showing flexural as well as torsional modes. The correspondence between theoretical and experimental data is reasonably good, probing the viability of this high throughput and CMOS compatible fabrication process. To complete the study, X-ray diffraction as well as d(33) piezoelectric coefficient measurements were also carried out.