Very good crystallinity and highly c-axis-oriented aluminum nitride (AlN) thin films are sputtered on titanium (Ti) to fabricate thin piezoelectric cantilevers. Raman spectroscopy measurements and X-ray diffraction (XRD) indicate the high quality of these AlN films. A fabrication process, fully CMOS compatible, is developed to realize slender piezoelectric microcantilevers. Actuation enhancement for the AlN piezoelectric cantilevers is achieved by coating the slender beams with a thin PECVD silicon nitride (SiN) layer. Very good linearity and high displacement, up to 19.5 nm for 200 μm long cantilevers and 4.25 nm for 100 μm long cantilevers for 1 V actuation at quasi-static mode, are obtained with a 500 nm SiN top layer. These displacement values are three times larger than our previously reported values for cantilevers without SiN layer coating. This makes these cantilevers, without the need of employing nonstandard metals such as platinum (Pt), very promising for micro/nanoactuators.
Tran, T., Wunnicke, O., Pandraud, G., Nguyen, D. M., Schellevis, H., & Sarro, P. M. (2013). Slender piezoelectric cantilevers of high quality AlN layers sputtered on Ti thin film for MEMS actuators. Sensors and actuators. A: Physical, 202, 118-123. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sna.2013.01.047