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Preparation and characterization of ZnO microcantilever for nanoactuation

Peihong Wang1, Hejun Du1*, Shengnan Shen12, Mingsheng Zhang2 and Bo Liu2

Author Affiliations

1 School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore, 639798, Republic of Singapore

2 Data Storage Institute, 5 Engineering Drive 1, Singapore, 117608, Republic of Singapore

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:176  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-176

Published: 8 March 2012


Zinc oxide [ZnO] thin films are deposited using a radiofrequency magnetron sputtering method under room temperature. Its crystalline quality, surface morphology, and composition purity are characterized by X-ray diffraction [XRD], atomic force microscopy [AFM], field-emission scanning electron microscopy [FE-SEM], and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy [EDS]. XRD pattern of the ZnO thin film shows that it has a high c-axis-preferring orientation, which is confirmed by a FE-SEM cross-sectional image of the film. The EDS analysis indicates that only Zn and O elements are contained in the ZnO film. The AFM image shows that the film's surface is very smooth and dense, and the surface roughness is 5.899 nm. The microcantilever (Au/Ti/ZnO/Au/Ti/SiO2/Si) based on the ZnO thin film is fabricated by micromachining techniques. The dynamic characterizations of the cantilever using a laser Doppler vibrometer show that the amplitude of the cantilever tip is linear with the driving voltage, and the amplitude of this microcantilever's tip increased from 2.1 to 13.6 nm when the driving voltage increased from 0.05 to 0.3 Vrms. The calculated transverse piezoelectric constant d31 of the ZnO thin film is -3.27 pC/N. This d31 is high compared with other published results. This ZnO thin film will be used in smart slider in hard disk drives to do nanoactuation in the future.

ZnO thin film; piezoelectric cantilever; micromachining technique; transverse piezoelectric constant