Piezomechanical properties at the nanoscale for NEMS actuation
Piezoelectric materials have the ability to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. The downscaling of these materials has led to the field of piezo micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) with many applications such as scanning probe microscopy, energy harvesters or inkjet print heads. In this project we will attempt to understand these materials on a unit cell scale and further decrease the device-size into the submicron domains. As the material’s dimensions start to decrease its properties will change generally decreasing the characteristics. This change will be studied and with this knowledge we will try to increases the properties of small scale devices making new applications for these piezoelectric materials possible.
In this project we focus mostly on epitaxially grown PZT (Pb(Zr,Ti)O3) films on different substrates with the use of pulsed laser deposition (PLD). PZT is chosen due to its high piezoelectric coefficients. In order to understand the workings of thin films we study these materials using methods and techniques such as XRD (X-Ray Diffraction), PFM (Piezo Force Microscopy), ferroelectric/polarization loops, HRSEM (High Resolution Scanning Electron Microscopy) and laser Doppler vibrometer height sensing. From these measurements we gain insight into important aspects such as the domain wall movement, unit cell deformation, polarization and material lifetime.
For more information contact : Kurt Vergeer (firstname.lastname@example.org).