AlScN thin film based surface acoustic wave devices with enhanced microfluidic performance

Wenbo Wang, Yong Qing Fu, Jinju Chen, Weipeng Xuan, Jinkai Chen, Paul Mayrhofer, Pengfei Duan, Elmar Bittner, Jikui Luo

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This paper reports the characterization of scandium aluminum nitride (Al1−x ScxN, x  =  27%) films and discusses surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices based on them. Both AlScN and AlN films were deposited on silicon by sputtering and possessed columnar microstructures with (0  0  0  2) crystal orientation. The AlScN/Si SAW devices showed improved electromechanical coupling coefficients (K2, ~2%) compared with pure AlN films (<0.5%). The performance of the two types of devices was also investigated and compared, using acoustofluidics as an example. The AlScN/Si SAW devices achieved much lower threshold powers for the acoustic streaming and pumping of liquid droplets, and the acoustic streaming and pumping velocities were 2  ×  and 3  ×  those of the AlN/Si SAW devices, respectively. Mechanical characterization showed that the Young's modulus and hardness of the AlN film decreased significantly when Sc was doped, and this was responsible for the decreased acoustic velocity and resonant frequency, and the increased temperature coefficient of frequency, of the AlScN SAW devices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number075006
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2016


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