Skip to Main Content
Surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices have been used extensively for a variety of applications such as telecommunications, electronic devices, and sensors. The emerging need for high-bit data processing at gigahertz frequencies and the requirement of high-sensitivity sensors demand the development of high-efficiency SAW devices. With the objective of exploiting the high acoustic velocity of diamond, we report on an optimally developed nanodiamond thin film with crystal size of 3-5 nm, embedded in an amorphous carbon matrix with grain boundaries of 1-1.5 nm, that is integrated with aluminum nitride (AlN) to extend the operating frequency of SAW transducers. We utilize this attractive property of diamond through facile synthesis of a bilayer structure consisting of sputtered AlN deposited on an ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) film. We report the realization of a high-frequency SAW resonator, using a device architecture based on an UNCD layer. The UNCD films were synthesized using a microwave plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (MWPECVD) technique and were used to enhance the SAW velocity in the AlN thin film, thus opening the way for the application of CMOS compatible high-frequency SAW devices. The deposition and characterization of UNCD thin films are presented and highlighted for the realization of the SAW resonators. The high velocity associated with the UNCD/AlN bilayered approach together with the high lateral resolution of the interdigital transducers obtained with electron beam lithography is essential for the realization of high-frequency SAW devices. The fabricated devices demonstrate resonance frequencies of 11.3 and 6.2 GHz corresponding to spatial periods of 800 and 1600 nm, respectively, yielding a SAW velocity of 9040 and 10 064 m/s, respectively.