Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Giant Piezoelectric Effect to Improve MEMS Devices

02.12.2011
Researchers in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Materials Research Institute at Penn State are part of a multidisciplinary team of researchers from universities and national laboratories across the U.S. who have fabricated piezoelectric thin films with record-setting properties.

These engineered films have great potential for energy harvesting applications, as well as in micro-electro-mechanical-systems (MEMS), micro actuators, and sensors for a variety of miniaturized systems, such as ultrasound imaging, microfluidics, and mechanical sensing.

Piezoelectric materials can transform electrical energy into mechanical energy and vice versa. Most MEMS utilize silicon, the standard material for semiconductor electronics, as the substrate. Integrating piezoelectric thin films onto silicon-based MEMS devices with dimensions from micrometers to a few millimeters in size will add an active component that can take advantage of motion, such as a footstep or a vibrating motor, to generate electric current, or use a small applied voltage to create micron level motion, such as in focusing a digital camera.

Previously, the best piezoelectric MEMS devices were made with layers of silicon and lead zirconium titanate (PZT) films. Recently, a team led by Chang-Beom Eom of University of Wisconsin-Madison synthesized a lead magnesium niobate-lead titanate (PMN-PT) thin film integrated on a silicon substrate.

The Penn State team, led by Susan Trolier-McKinstry, professor of ceramic science and engineering, and including research associate Srowthi Bharadwaja, PhD, measured the electrical and piezoelectric performance of the thin films and compared the PMN-PT films against the reported values of other micromachined actuator materials to show the potential of PMN-PT for actuator and energy harvesting applications.

In a recent article in Science, the team reported the highest values of piezoelectric properties for any piezoelectric thin film to-date, and a two-fold higher figure of merit than the best reported PZT films for energy harvesting applications. This increase in the effective piezoelectric activity in a thin film will result in a dramatic improvement in performance. For example, energy harvesting using such thin films will provide local power sources for wireless sensor nodes for bridges, aircraft, and potentially for human-body sensors.

Along with the researchers from Penn State and UW-Madison, the participating institutions included the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), University of Michigan, University of California, Berkeley, Cornell University, and Argonne National Laboratory. The paper, titled “Giant Piezoelectricity on Si for Hyperactive MEMS,” appeared in the Nov. 18 issue of Science. Work at Penn State was supported by a National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellowship. Other support was provided by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Air Force Office for Scientific Research, and a David Lucile Packard Fellowship.

For more information, contact Susan Trolier-McKinstry at 814 863-8348 or stmckinstry@psu.edu. Visit the Materials Research Institute and its new home in the Millennium Science Complex at www.mri.psu.edu.

Susan Trolier-McKinstry | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht ADIR Project: Lasers Recover Valuable Materials
21.07.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing
20.07.2017 | University of Leeds

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>