Piezoelectric aluminum nitride nanoelectromechanical actuators

Sinha, Nipun; Wabiszewski, Graham E.; Mahameed, Rashed; Felmetsger, Valery V.; Tanner, Shawn M.; Carpick, Robert W.; Piazza, Gianluca
August 2009
Applied Physics Letters;8/3/2009, Vol. 95 Issue 5, p053106
Academic Journal
This letter reports the implementation of ultrathin (100 nm) aluminum nitride (AlN) piezoelectric layers for the fabrication of vertically deflecting nanoactuators. The films exhibit an average piezoelectric coefficient (d31∼-1.9 pC/N), which is comparable to its microscale counterpart. This allows vertical deflections as large as 40 nm from 18 μm long and 350 nm thick multilayer cantilever bimorph beams with 2 V actuation. Furthermore, in-plane stress and stress gradients have been simultaneously controlled. The films exhibit leakage currents lower than 2 nA/cm2 at 1 V, and have an average relative dielectric constant of approximately 9.2 (as in thicker films). These material characteristics and actuation results make the AlN nanofilms ideal candidates for the realization of nanoelectromechanical switches for low power logic applications.


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