Electro-Acoustic and Electronic Applications Utilizing Thin Film Aluminium Nitride
Abstract: In recent years there has been a huge increase in the growth of communication systems such as mobile phones, wireless local area networks (WLAN), satellite navigation and various other forms of wireless data communication that have made analogue frequency control a key issue. The increase in frequency spectrum crowding and the increase of frequency into microwave region, along with the need for minimisation and capacity improvement, has shown the need for the development of high performance, miniature, on-chip filters operating in the low to medium GHz frequency range. This has hastened the need for alternatives to ceramic resonators due to their limits in device size and performance, which in turn, has led to development of the thin film electro-acoustics industry with surface acoustic wave (SAW) and bulk acoustic wave (BAW) filters now fabricated in their millions. Further, this new technology opens the way for integrating the traditionally incompatible integrated circuit (IC) and electro-acoustic (EA) technologies, bringing about substantial economic and performance benefits.In this thesis the compatibility of aluminium nitride (AlN) to IC fabrication is explored as a means for furthering integration issues. Various issues have been explored where either tailoring thin film bulk acoustic resonator (FBAR) design, such as development of an improved solidly mounted resonator (SMR) technology, and use of IC technology, such as chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) or nickel silicide (NiSi), has made improvements beneficial for resonator fabrication or enabled IC integration. The former has resulted in major improvements to Quality factor, power handling and encapsulation respectively. The later has provided alternative methods to reduce electro- or acoustomigration, reduced device size, for plate waves, supplied novel low acoustic impedance material for high power applications and alternative electrodes for use in high temperature sensors.Another method to enhance integration by using the piezoelectric material, AlN, in the IC side has also been explored. Here methods for analysing AlN film contamination and stoichiometry have been used for analysis of AlN as a high-k dielectric material. This has even brought benefits in knowledge of film composition for use as a passivation material with SiC substrates, investigated in high power high frequency applications. Lastly AlN has been used as a buried insulator material for new silicon-on-insulator substrates (SOI) for increased heat conduction. These new substrates have been analysed with further development for improved performance indicated.
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