21 May 2015 High temperature performance of sputter-deposited piezoelectric aluminum nitride thin films
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Abstract
Aluminum nitride (AlN) is a promising material for sensor applications in harsh environments such as turbine exhausts or thermal power plants due to its piezoelectric properties, good thermal match to silicon and high temperature stability. Typically, the usage of piezoelectric materials in high temperature is limited by the Curie-temperature, the increase of the leakage current as well as by enhanced diffusion effects in the materials. In order to exploit the high temperature potential of AlN thin films, post deposition annealing experiments up to 1000°C in both oxygen and nitrogen gas atmospheres for 2 h were performed. X-ray diffraction measurements indicate that the thin films are chemically stable in a pure oxygen atmosphere for 2 h at annealing temperatures of up to 900°C. After a 2 h annealing step at 1000°C in pure oxygen. However, a 100 nm thin AlN film is completely oxidized. In contrast, the layer is stable up to 1000°C in pure nitrogen atmosphere. The surface topology changes significantly at annealing temperatures above 800°C independent of annealing atmosphere. The surface roughness is increased by about one order of magnitude compared to the "as deposited" state. This is predominantly attributed to recrystallization processes occurring during high temperature loading. Up to an annealing temperature of 700°C, a Poole-Frenkel conduction mechanism dominates the leakage current characteristics. Above, a mixture of different leakage current mechanisms is observed.
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M. Gillinger, M. Schneider, A. Bittner, P. Nicolay, U. Schmid, "High temperature performance of sputter-deposited piezoelectric aluminum nitride thin films", Proc. SPIE 9517, Smart Sensors, Actuators, and MEMS VII; and Cyber Physical Systems, 951707 (21 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2179442; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2179442
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KEYWORDS
Aluminum nitride

Annealing

Thin films

Oxygen

Nitrogen

Temperature metrology

Atomic force microscopy

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