Recent Progress in Materials Issues for Piezoelectric MEMS


  • Paul Muralt

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratoire de Céramique, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland
      †Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. e-mail:
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  • D. Green—contributing editor

†Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. e-mail:


Piezoelectric materials play a crucial role in a large number of devices and applications modern society would not like to miss. Mobile phones and ultrasonic imaging are just the most prominent ones. Since two decades, miniaturization of mechanical devices in silicon technology is a major research direction in engineering known under name of MEMS, which stands for micro-electro-mechanical systems. Piezoelectricity fits very well into this concept and was expected right from the beginning to play its role in MEMS. The breakthrough was made with RF filters in mobile phones working on the principle of standing thickness waves in AlN films. What counts here is acoustic quality and stability. The force champion among piezoelectric thin film materials, Pb(Zr,Ti)O3 gave more problems in processing, and requires more patience to meet requirements and needs for a mass applications. It seems, however, that the breakthrough is imminent. This article attempts to give an overview of the field, highlighting recent achievements, introduce operation principles, and describe some applications.