This manuscript reports the temperature dependence of ferroelectric switching in Al 0.84 Sc 0.16 N, Al 0.93 B 0.07 N, and AlN thin films. Polarization reversal is demonstrated in all compositions and is strongly temperature dependent. Between room temperature and 300 C, the coercive field drops by almost 50% in all samples, while there was very small temperature dependence of the remanent polarization value. Over this same temperature range, the relative permittivity increased between 5% and 10%. Polarization reversal was confirmed by piezoelectric coefficient analysis and chemical etching. Applying intrinsic/homogeneous switching models produces nonphysical fits, while models based on thermal activation suggest that switching is regulated by a distribution of pinning sites or nucleation barriers with an average activation energy near 28 meV.
When utilizing double-beam laser interferometry to assess the piezoelectric coefficient of a film on a substrate, probing both top and bottom sample surfaces is expected to correct the erroneous bending contribution by canceling the additional path length from the sample height change. However, when the bending deformation becomes extensive and uncontrolled, as in the case of membranes or fully released piezoelectric films, the double-beam setup can no longer account for the artifacts, thus resulting in inflated film displacement data and implausibly large piezoelectric coefficient values. This work serves to identify these challenges by demonstrating d33,f measurements of fully released PZT films using a commercial double-beam laser interferometer. For a 1 μm thick randomly oriented PZT film on a 10 μm thick polyimide substrate, a large apparent d33,f of 9500 pm/V was measured. The source of error was presumably a distorted interference pattern due to the erroneous phase shift of the measurement laser beam caused by extensive deformation of the released sample structure. This effect has unfortunately been mistaken as enhanced piezoelectric responses by some reports in the literature. Finite element models demonstrate that bending, laser beam alignment, and the offset between the support structure and the electrode under test have a strong influence on the apparent film d33,f.
Interest in utilizing ultrasound (US) transducers for non-invasive neuromodulation treatment, including for low intensity transcranial focused ultrasound stimulation (tFUS), has grown rapidly. The most widely demonstrated US transducers for tFUS are either bulk piezoelectric transducers or capacitive micromachine transducers (CMUT) which require high voltage excitation to operate. In order to advance the development of the US transducers towards small, portable devices for safe tFUS at large scale, a low voltage array of US transducers with beam focusing and steering capability is of interest. This work presents the design methodology, fabrication, and characterization of 32-element phased array piezoelectric micromachined ultrasound transducers (PMUT) using 1.5 µm thick Pb(Zr 0.52 Ti 0.48 )O 3 films doped with 2 mol% Nb. The electrode/piezoelectric/electrode stack was deposited on a silicon on insulator (SOI) wafer with a 2 µm silicon device layer that serves as the passive elastic layer for bendingmode vibration. The fabricated 32-element PMUT has a central frequency at 1.4 MHz. Ultrasound beam focusing and steering (through beamforming) was demonstrated where the array was driven with 14.6 V square unipolar pulses. The PMUT generated a maximum peak-to-peak focused acoustic pressure output of 0.44 MPa at a focal distance of 20 mm with a 9.2 mm and 1 mm axial and lateral resolution, respectively. The maximum pressure is equivalent to a spatial-peak pulse-average intensity of 1.29 W/cm 2 , which is suitable for tFUS application.
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