Piezoelectric ZnO films by r.f. sputtering

Jyrki Molarius, Jyrki Kaitila, Tuomas Pensala, Markku Ylilammi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    61 Citations (Scopus)


    Piezoelectric zinc oxide films are used in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) applications, where they can be used in sensors to detect, e.g., pressure or acceleration. Beside sensors, ZnO films are applied in activation devices, where force is needed. Conductive-doped zinc oxide (most often with aluminum) is also used in optoelectronics. Piezoelectric films including AlN and ZnO are more difficult to produce than the corresponding conductive materials. In order to achieve good piezoelectricity in ZnO films, they have to possess high purity, a (0 0 1) orientation (ZnO has hexagonal crystal structure), high resistivity, and fine columnar microstructure perpendicular to the substrate. We have used r.f. magnetron (13.56 MHz) sputtering from a ZnO target in an oxygen atmosphere to achieve the piezoelectric ZnO. The aim of this work has been to develop an r.f. sputtering process for ZnO to achieve highly piezoelectric thin films. As a test vehicle to measure the piezoelectricity of the ZnO films we have fabricated resonators and passband filters in the 1–2 GHz range using standard microelectronics photolithography, deposition, and etching techniques on 100-mm diameter Corning glass or silicon wafers. The influence of the sputtering-process parameters on the film properties has been studied by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and electrical measurements. In this study, the effects of the process parameters on the final material properties of the ZnO film are discussed in detail.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)431-435
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics
    Issue number5-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2003
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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