Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Microfabrication breakthrough could set piezoelectric material applications in motion

Abstract:
Integrating a complex, single-crystal material with "giant" piezoelectric properties onto silicon, University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers and physicists can fabricate low-voltage, near-nanoscale electromechanical devices that could lead to improvements in high-resolution 3-D imaging, signal processing, communications, energy harvesting, sensing, and actuators for nanopositioning devices, among others.

Microfabrication breakthrough could set piezoelectric material applications in motion

Madison, WI | Posted on November 17th, 2011

Led by Chang-Beom Eom, a UW-Madison professor of materials science and engineering and physics, the multi-institutional team published its results in the Nov. 18, issue of the journal Science. (Eom and his students also are co-authors on another paper, "Domain dynamics during ferroelectric switching," published in the same issue.)

Piezoelectric materials use mechanical motion to generate an electrical signal, such as the light that flashes in some children's shoe heels when they stomp their feet. Conversely, piezoelectrics also can use an electrical signal to generate mechanical motion—for example, piezoelectric materials are used to generate high-frequency acoustic waves for ultrasound imaging.

Eom studies the advanced piezoelectric material lead magnesium niobate-lead titanate, or PMN-PT. Such materials exhibit a "giant" piezoelectric response that can deliver much greater mechanical displacement with the same amount of electric field as traditional piezoelectric materials. They also can act as both actuators and sensors. For example, they use electricity to deliver an ultrasound wave that penetrates deeply into the body and returns data capable of displaying a high-quality 3-D image.

Currently, a major limitation of these advanced materials is that to incorporate them into very small-scale devices, researchers start with a bulk material and grind, cut and polish it to the size they desire. It's an imprecise, error-prone process that's intrinsically ill-suited for nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) or microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).

Until now, the complexity of PMN-PT has thwarted researchers' efforts to develop simple, reproducable microscale fabrication techniques.

Applying microscale fabrication techniques such as those used in computer electronics, Eom's team has overcome that barrier. He and his colleagues worked from the ground up to integrate PMN-PT seamlessly onto silicon. Because of potential chemical reactions among the components, they layered materials and carefully planned the locations of individual atoms. "You have to lay down the right element first," says Eom.

Onto a silicon "platform," his team adds a very thin layer of strontium titanate, which acts as a template and mimics the structure of silicon. Next comes a layer of strontium ruthenate, an electrode Eom developed some years ago, and finally, the single-crystal piezoelectric material PMN-PT.

The researchers have characterized the material's piezoelectric response, which correlates with theoretical predictions. "The properties of the single crystal we integrated on silicon are as good as the bulk single crystal," says Eom.

His team calls devices fabricated from this giant piezoelectric material "hyper-active MEMS" for their potential to offer researchers a high level of active control. Using the material, his team also developed a process for fabricating piezoelectric MEMS. Applied in signal processing, communications, medical imaging and nanopositioning actuators, hyper-active MEMS devices could reduce power consumption and increase actuator speed and sensor sensitivity. Additionally, through a process called energy harvesting, hyper-active MEMS devices could convert energy from sources such as mechanical vibrations into electricity that powers other small devices—for example, for wireless communication.

The National Science Foundation is funding the research via a four-year, $1.35 million NIRT grant. At UW-Madison, team members include Lynn H. Matthias Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Robert Blick and Physics Professor Mark Rzchowski. Other collaborators include people at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Michigan, Argonne National Laboratory, the University of California at Berkeley, and Cornell University.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Renee Meiller
608-262-2481


Chang-Beom Eom

608-263-6305

Copyright © University of Wisconsin-Madison

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Making magnets flip like cats at room temperature: Heusler alloy NiMnSb could prove valuable as a new material for digital information processing and storage July 25th, 2016

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Russian physicists discover a new approach for building quantum computers: Physicists find a way of 'bundling together' multiple elements of a quantum computer July 24th, 2016

A 'smart dress' for oil-degrading bacteria July 24th, 2016

Sensors

Electron 'spin control' of levitated nanodiamonds could bring advances in sensors, quantum information processing July 20th, 2016

Easier, faster, cheaper: A full-filling approach to making nanotubes of consistent quality: Approach opens a straightforward route for engineering the properties of single-wall carbon nanotubes July 19th, 2016

Researchers invent 'smart' thread that collects diagnostic data when sutured into tissue: Advances could pave way for new generation of implantable and wearable diagnostics July 18th, 2016

UNIST engineers octopus-inspired smart adhesive pads July 15th, 2016

Discoveries

Making magnets flip like cats at room temperature: Heusler alloy NiMnSb could prove valuable as a new material for digital information processing and storage July 25th, 2016

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Russian physicists discover a new approach for building quantum computers: Physicists find a way of 'bundling together' multiple elements of a quantum computer July 24th, 2016

A 'smart dress' for oil-degrading bacteria July 24th, 2016

Announcements

Making magnets flip like cats at room temperature: Heusler alloy NiMnSb could prove valuable as a new material for digital information processing and storage July 25th, 2016

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Russian physicists discover a new approach for building quantum computers: Physicists find a way of 'bundling together' multiple elements of a quantum computer July 24th, 2016

A 'smart dress' for oil-degrading bacteria July 24th, 2016

Energy

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Researchers discover key mechanism for producing solar cells: Better understanding of perovskite solar cells could boost widespread use July 21st, 2016

The future of perovskite solar cells has just got brighter -- come rain or shine: Korean researchers at POSTECH have succeeded in developing high-efficiency perovskite solar cells that retain excellent performance over two months in a very humid condition July 21st, 2016

Scientists develop way to upsize nanostructures into light, flexible 3-D printed materials: Virginia Tech, Livermore National Lab researchers develop hierarchical 3-D printed metallic materials July 20th, 2016

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Synthesized microporous 3-D graphene-like carbons: IBS research team create carbon synthesis using zeolites as a template July 1st, 2016

Texas A&M Chemist Says Trapped Electrons To Blame For Lack Of Battery Efficiency: Forget mousetraps — today’s scientists will get the cheese if they manage to build a better battery June 28th, 2016

Yale researchers’ technology turns wasted heat into power June 27th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic