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A new modification to the traditional piezoelectric thin film bulk acoustic wave resonator (FBAR) and solidly mounted acoustic wave resonator (SMR) is proven to significantly improve their performances. The proposed design involves the surface micro/nano structuring of planar piezoelectric thin films to realize an array of a large number of rod-like structures. In contrast to the plate-like thickness extensional resonance in traditional FBAR and SMR devices, the rod-like structures can be excited in their length extensional resonance, yielding a higher electromechanical coupling factor and effectively eliminating the spurious resonances from lateral modes of vibration. The designs have been investigated by two and three-dimensional finite element analyses and one-dimensional transmission-line modelling. The results show that significant increases in the electromechanical coupling factor of ca. 40% can be achieved by using the rod-like length extensional resonances as compared with the plate-like thickness extensional resonances in traditional devices. Simulations show that rod width-to-thickness aspect ratios of less than 0.5 could result in an electromechanical coupling factor (k/sub eff//sup 2/) of over 10% for a zinc oxide device, compared with approximately 7% for a conventional design.