Piezo MEMS | Research

Piezo actuation and sensing are widely applied in all kind of products, but often the miniaturization of these products lack due to missing thin film piezo technology.  Especially in products based on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology, the hybrid integration of the MEMS chips with a bulk piezo actuator, often is too expensive or cannot achieve the density requirements.

The Piezo-MEMS project will develop reliable technology and qualified procedures for integration of piezoelectric thin films into micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) at an industrial level.

The results will increase the competitiveness of Dutch SME’s engaged in the MEMS as well as the piezo market. Many of these companies have innovative ideas for new types of sensors and actuators based on piezoelectric functional elements, provided that these elements can be integrated in MEMS technology for cost and density reasons. Examples of such devices are: inkjet nozzles, ultrasonic imaging transducers, fluid/gas valves and flow sensors, accelerometers, micromotors and micropumps. Reliable technology for integration of piezoelectric thin films is a key tool to realise these new products. However, current knowledge in the field is mostly limited to the conditions and scale of academic laboratories, and knowledge on  reliability and reproducibility of the films and methods at industrial level is scarce. Therefore, this project will develop validated procedures and technology demonstrators for integration of piezoelectric thin films in MEMS. The thin films will be deposited using vapour phase deposition techniques, such as pulsed laser deposition. Qualified production routes will form the basis for a new foundry service that will be offered during and after the project. This service will be an open alternative for production, particularly suitable for those SME’s that do not have resources to build their own production line. The project will also contribute to industrial standards in the field. The development of such standards is a particularly important tool for strengthening the competitiveness of SME’s. The project involves non-competing SME partners with a diverse market and technology base, two complementary research partners, and one major Dutch high tech company.

In conclusion, the objective of the Piezo-MEMS project is to increase the competitiveness of the Dutch industry by:
  1. developing reliable technology and validated procedures for integration of piezoelectric thin films into MEMS at an industrial level.
  2. contributing to industrial standard.
  3. creating, through qualified production routes and technology demonstrators, a foundry service in piezoelectric thin films/MEMS.