Fabrication and characterization of micromachined high-frequency tonpilz transducers derived by PZT thick films

Qifa Zhou, Jonathan M. Cannata, Richard J. Meyer, David J. Van Tol, Srinivas Tadigadapa, W. Jack Hughes, K. Kirk Shung, Susan Trolier-McKinstry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Miniaturized tonpilz transducers are potentially useful for ultrasonic imaging in the 10 to 100 MHz frequency range due to their higher efficiency and output capabilities. In this work, 4 to 10-μm thick piezoelectric thin films were used as the active element in the construction of miniaturized tonpilz structures. The tonpilz stack consisted of silver/lead zirconate titanate (PZT)/lanthanum nickelate (LaNiO 3)/silicon on insulator (SOI) substrates. First, conductive LaNiO 3 thin films, approximately 300 nm in thickness, were grown on SOI substrates by a metal-organic decomposition (MOD) method. The room temperature resistivity of the LaNiO 3 was 6.5 × 10 -6 ω·m. Randomly oriented PZT (52/48) films up to 7-μm thick were then deposited using a sol-gel process on the LaNiO 3-coated SOI substrates. The PZT films with LaNiO 3 bottom electrodes showed good dielectric and ferroelectric properties. The relative dielectric permittivity (at 1 kHz) was about 1030. The remanent polarization of PZT films was larger than 26 μC/cm 2. The effective transverse piezoelectric e 31,f coefficient of PZT thick films was about -6.5 C/m 2 when poled at -75 kV/cm for 15 minutes at room temperature. Enhanced piezoelectric properties were obtained on poling the PZT films at higher temperatures. A silver layer about 40-μm thick was prepared by silver powder dispersed in epoxy and deposited onto the PZT film to form the tail mass of the tonpilz structure. The top layers of this wafer were subsequently diced with a saw, and the structure was bonded to a second wafer. The original silicon carrier wafer was polished and etched using a Xenon difluoride (XeF 2) etching system. The resulting structures showed good piezoelectric activity. This process flow should enable integration of the piezoelectric elements with drive/receive electronics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-356
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Instrumentation
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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