An efficient, electrically conductive, chemical barrier for the integration of piezoelectric Pb(Zr,Ti)O3 (PZT) films on reactive metal substrates has been developed, opening new possibilities for PZT integration on micromechanical and semiconductor devices. Very reactive zirconium films have been taken in order to test the quality of the specially designed RuO2/Cr buffer under the condition of in situ sputter deposition of PZT at 600 °C. The PZT/RuO2 interface was found to be free of intermediate phases. A PZT activated metallic micromechanical element was demonstrated with a thin film Zr membrane. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.