Mar 14, 2018

Influence of aluminum nitride crystal orientation on MEMS energy harvesting device performance

Aluminum nitride (AlN) is a widely researched piezoelectric material due to its CMOS compatibility. One of the most common applications for AlN is in the area of vibrational energy harvesting. The piezoelectric quality of AlN is related to the crystal orientation of the film and optimal conditions are obtained when AlN is c-axis aligned with a (0 0 2) orientation. AlN can be a challenging material to integrate into a fabrication process due to orientation dependency of the fabrication process. This paper reports on the effects of non-(0 0 2) oriented AlN peaks on an energy harvesting MEMS cantilever structure. Results show that FWHM values of the AlN films from different wafers were approximately the same 8.5°, 8.7°, and 9°, however wafer 1 had additional peaks at (1 0 2) and (1 0 3), which significantly affected the piezoelectric constants and the amount of power generated. The measured d31 value for the wafers were 2.04, 1.97, and 0.84 pm V−1, and the power generated was 0.67, 0.64, and 0.24 µW respectively. These values show that non-peaks of AlN can cause a significant decrease in the piezoelectric constant, which causes significant decrease in the ability to generate power from an AlN film.


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