Army

Piezoelectric MEMS (PiezoMEMS) Patent Portfolio: Thin Film PZT Deposition, Development, Device Designs, and Testing

PiezoMEMS patent portfolio centered around PZT thin film-based PiezoMEMS technology with superior performance

Materials
PZT thin film for Switch and Relay Technologies

PZT thin film for Switch and Relay Technologies

The US Army seeks a partner to license and commercialize its PiezoMEMS patent portfolio centered around PZT thin film-based PiezoMEMS technology with superior performance through the use of developed, tested, and patented fabrication methods, device designs, and testing methods.

For over two decades, the Army has invested in PZT thin film technology to develop MEMS devices for communication, navigation and radar systems, MEMS sensors, ultra-low power logic, and millimeter-scale robotics. The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) utilizes chemical solution deposition (CSD) and sputtered PZT in an industry compatible state-of-the-art 150mm diameter wafer-line cleanroom facility for its current R&D activities. Using this facility, ARL has developed novel deposition, etch and patterning methods, device designs, and integrated testing methods for PZT thin films to enable a new generation of MEMS device applications.

While electrostatic actuation is established in MEMS devices, in many cases the cost of small electrode gap spacing and large driving voltages requires specialized high voltage charge pump circuits. In contrast, piezoelectric microelectromechanical systems (PiezoMEMS) offer the opportunity for high sensitivity sensors and large displacement actuators operating at voltages ranging from a few millivolts to the low tens of volts. Lead zirconate titanate, or PZT, has the advantage of combining three different material properties: high value and tunable dielectric constant; a pyroelectric effect; and one of the highest available piezoelectric coefficients along with a very high electromechanical coupling coefficient. With these advantages, there is growing commercial interest to integrate piezoelectric films into MEMS devices.

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