Piezoelectric aluminum nitride thin films for microelectromechanical systems
This article reports on the state-of-the-art of the development of aluminum nitride (AlN) thin-film microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) with particular emphasis on acoustic devices for radio frequency (RF) signal processing. Examples of resonant devices are reviewed to highlight the capabilities of AlN as an integrated circuit compatible material for the implementation of RF filters and oscillators. The commercial success of thin-film bulk acoustic resonators is presented to show how AlN has de facto become an industrial standard for the synthesis of high performance duplexers. The article also reports on the development of a new class of AlN acoustic resonators that are directly integrated with circuits and enable a new generation of reconfigurable narrowband filters and oscillators. Research efforts related to the deposition of doped AlN films and the scaling of sputtered AlN films into the nano realm are also provided as examples of possible future material developments that could expand the range of applicability of AlN MEMS.