AlN/IDT/AlN/Sapphire SAW Heterostructure for High-Temperature Applications.IEEE Trans Ultrason Ferroelectr Freq Control. 2016 06; 63(6):898-906.IT
Recent studies have evidenced that Pt/AlN/Sapphire surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices are promising for high-temperature high-frequency applications. However, they cannot be used above 700°C in air atmosphere as the Pt interdigital transducers (IDTs) agglomerate and the AlN layer oxidizes in such conditions. In this paper, we explore the possibility to use an AlN protective overlayer to concurrently hinder these phenomena. To do so, AlN/IDT/AlN/Sapphire heterostructures undergo successive annealing steps from 800°C to 1000°C in air atmosphere. The impact of each step on the morphology, microstructure, and phase composition of AlN and Pt films is evaluated using optical microscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM and TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS). Finally, acoustical performance at room temperature of both protected and unprotected SAW devices are compared, as well as the effects of annealing on these performance. These investigations show that the use of an overlayer is one possible solution to strongly hinder the Pt IDTs agglomeration up to 1000°C. Moreover, AlN/IDT/AlN/Sapphire SAW heterostructures show promising performances in terms of stability up to 800°C. At higher temperatures, the oxidation of AlN is more intense and makes it inappropriate to be used as a protective layer.