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The characterization of sputtered polycrystalline aluminum nitride on silicon by surface acoustic wave measurements

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2 Author(s)
H. M. Liaw ; Semicond. Products Sector, Motorola Inc., Tempe, AZ, USA ; F. S. Hickernell

Polycrystalline aluminum nitride films were deposited on Si/sub 3/N/sub 4/ coated [100] silicon substrates by the reactive sputtering method. We have carried out experiments to evaluate the effect of AlN material parameters on the SAW characteristics. The SAW transducers were fabricated by forming interdigitated Al electrodes on top of the AlN films and transmission measurements made over the frequency range from 50 MHz to 1.5 GHz. The SAW characteristics were correlated with material parameters of crystallite orientation, grain size, surface morphology and oxygen concentration. A key material parameter affecting the SAW characteristics was found to be the preferred degree of crystallite orientation with the c-axis normal to the plane of the substrate. The better oriented the AlN grains, the stronger the SAW response, the higher the SAW phase velocity, and the lower the insertion and propagation losses over the entire frequency range of measurement. Above 500 MHz the propagation losses of the well oriented films followed a frequency squared dependence only slightly higher than the reported values for the best epitaxial films. The coupling factors deduced from the transducer characteristics are in the upper range of values reported by Tsubouchi for epitaxial AlN films deposited on the basal plane of sapphire. There was a strong correlation between the X-ray diffraction intensity from the (002) planes and the oxygen content in the films.<>

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control  (Volume:42 ,  Issue: 3 )