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5 GHz surface acoustic wave devices based on aluminum nitride/diamond
layered structure realized using electron beam lithography
P. Kirsch, M. B. Assouar,a兲 and O. Elmazria
Laboratoire de Physique des Milieux Ionisés et Applications, Université Henri Poincaré Nancy I,
UMR 7040 CNRS, 54506 Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, France
V. Mortet
Institute for Materials Research, Limburgs Universitair Centrum, Wetenschapspark 1-B-3590 Diepenbeek,
P. Alnot
Laboratoire de Physique des Milieux Ionisés et Applications, Université Henri Poincaré Nancy I,
UMR 7040 CNRS, 54506 Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, France
共Received 15 February 2006; accepted 3 May 2006; published online 30 May 2006兲
Very high frequency surface acoustic wave 共SAW兲 devices based on AlN/diamond layered structures
were fabricated by direct writing using e-beam lithography on the nucleation side of chemical vapor
deposition diamond. The interdigital transducers made in aluminum with resolutions down to
500 nm were patterned on AlN/diamond layered structure with an adapted technological process.
Experimental results show that the Rayleigh wave and the higher modes are generated. The
fundamental frequency around 5 GHz was obtained for this layered structure SAW device and
agrees well with calculated results from dispersion curves of propagation velocity and
electromechanical coupling coefficient. © 2006 American Institute of Physics.
关DOI: 10.1063/1.2208372兴

Because of the increasing volume of information, the Polycrystalline diamond films were grown on silicon
demand for larger band pass surface acoustic wave 共SAW兲 wafers by plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition
filters at high frequency has become important.1 The highest 共PECVD兲, using an ASTeX reactor operating at a microwave
frequency devices are expected from the diamond substrate/ power of 6000 W and a pressure of 163 103 Pa, with 3%
piezoelectric material thin film layered structures because volume mixture of CH4 in H2.6 After deposition, the poly-
diamond exhibits the highest acoustic wave velocity among crystalline diamond layer was removed from the silicon sub-
all materials.2 Aluminum nitride is one of the most promising strate by a wet chemical etching in a HNA solution
materials for high frequency SAW devices because of its 共HF : HNO3 : CH3COOH兲, leading to a freestanding diamond
very high acoustic velocity among piezoelectric materials layer with a flat surface at the nucleation side. The nucleation
and its fairly large piezoelectric coupling coefficient along side of the freestanding diamond surface is smooth with an
the c axis.3 In previous work, we have demonstrated experi- average root-mean-square roughness Rrms of 15 nm, deter-
mentally that the structure combining AlN piezoelectric film mined by the nucleation density.
and freestanding diamond layer exhibits a phase velocity
AlN thin films were prepared by reactive rf magnetron
around 12 km/ s 共three times higher than that of conventional
sputtering on CVD diamond substrates. The growth experi-
piezoelectric material such as quartz兲.4,5 However, the oper-
mental conditions were published elsewhere.7,8 The growth
ating frequencies of the realized devices remain under 2 GHz
rate is 0.5 ␮m / h, and the thickness of films was measured by
due the limitation of photolithography resolution. In this
work, the high velocity of diamond is combined with the fine scanning electron microscopy 共SEM兲 from the cross section
resolution of the electron beam lithography 共EBL兲 to achieve of structure. For the device considered in this study, the AlN
SAW devices operating at 5 GHz. We have used electron thickness was fixed to 1 ␮m.
beam lithography for rapid and versatile prototyping on The present sub-micron fabrication process was applied
small substrates to obtain interdigital transducer 共IDT兲 struc- to the fabrication of high frequency SAW devices. As the
tures in the submicron and nanometer ranges. We present diamond substrate is electrically rather insulating and in or-
here the very high frequency SAW devices based on AIN/ der to overcome the charge accumulation on the top surface
diamond structures realized using e-beam lithography com- of the substrate, a 10 nm layer of aluminum was deposited
bined with lift-off technique. The achievement of such de- on the top surface before the resist coating. The electrosen-
vice is not trivial. In fact, AIN/diamond layered structures sitive resist used is a double layer consisting of two different
present a high electrical resistivity, involving charge accumu- electrosensitive resists: a copolymer consisting of a mixture
lation on the top surface by electrons injected during the of polymethyl methacrylate and methacrylic 共MMA兲 and
e-beam process, and consequently, the quasi-impossibility to 950 K polymethyl methacrylate 共PMMA兲 from Micro Chem.
pattern the IDTs. The solution to this problem will be Both resists are spun with the same experimental conditions.
presented. The double layer of resist is used to facilitate the lift-off
process step afterwards. The lithography was done at an ac-
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; electronic mail: celeration voltage of 30 kV and a current of 55 pA. The exposure dose for each structure strongly depends on its size

0003-6951/2006/88共22兲/223504/3/$23.00 88, 223504-1 © 2006 American Institute of Physics
Downloaded 02 Oct 2008 to Redistribution subject to AIP license or copyright; see

However. and its thickness uniformity. see http://apl. we obtain cleanly developed IDT with 500 nm finger resolution. could be precisely determined by calculation. One can observe a very regular spatial periodicity of the IDT fingers with 500 nm finger width and a very regular IDT thickness. 共k = 2␲ / ␭兲. obtained in a wide range of khAlN 共2–5兲 for mode 1 共also tured. 2. Figure 3 shows the frequency Figure 1 shows the x-ray diffraction 共XRD兲 spectrum in response of this SAW device fabricated with spatial IDT pe- ␪-2␪ scan mode of AlN film deposited on nucleation side of riodicity of ␭ = 2 ␮m.4 11. and a 100 nm aluminum layer is deposited onto the called the Sezawa mode兲. the higher values of K2 are panol for about 10 s.6 GHz兲 and more than 20 dB of stop band rejection. opment was done by dipping the exposed substrate into a the dispersion curves of K2 as well as those of phase velocity methyl-isobuthyl-ketone:isopropanol 共1:3兲 solution for 30 s. This IDT resolution involves structures. which had been = 2 ␮m兲. Lett.5 the substrate is placed into a H3PO4 / HNO3 solution. a lift-off is performed to set the IDT structures ized thickness was fixed to khAlN = 3.9 In the case of and then stopped by dipping the substrate into pure isopro. Downloaded 02 Oct 2008 to 137.aip. our structure. low insertion loss 共less than 34 dB兲 at the center frequency 共f 0 = 4. the wavelength ␭ of 2 ␮m. mode of surface acoustic wave. 223504 共2006兲 TABLE I. The expected values predicted by calculation are deposited at the very beginning of the fabrication process for summarized in Table I. Appl. which indicates that diamond substrate is highly oriented.14 共hAlN = 1 ␮m and ␭ free.022 1. Atomic force microscopy characterization showed IDT periodicity FIG. 1. ter presented here is the device realized with IDTs patterned By proceeding this way. the phase velocity and the electromechanical coupling coefficient 共K2兲 are strongly depending on the normalized thickness value 共kh兲 of the pi- and also on its geometrical aspect.205. Concerning the layered structures. IDT/AlN/diamond. which is done until Agilent 8752A network analyzer.8.36 0.jsp . and 2 of the surface charge evacuation purposes during the e-beam lithography. The resist double layer is now struc. Redistribution subject to AIP license or copyright. After the aluminum chanical coupling coefficient and high velocity. the normal- deposition. k is the wave vector modulus After exposure of the IDT structures. Mode 0 Mode 1 Mode 2 K2 共%兲 0. and hAlN is the AlN film thickness.087 Velocity 共km s−1兲 6. 3. 1. for modes 0. in which we can observe the fundamental of mode 1 around 5 GHz. waves. One can observe the good filtering CVD diamond substrate. Note that no particular design of IDTs was performed to FIG.3 To remove the 10 nm aluminum layer. corresponding to the c axis perpen. Phys. FIG. Frequency response of AlN/diamond layered structure SAW device. The characterized SAW fil- complete removal of the very thin charge evacuation layer. to combine high electrome- top surface by thermal evaporation. One can see that the AlN film is performances of this AIN/diamond SAW device: relatively highly oriented on 共002兲.2.223504-2 Kirsch et al. X-ray diffraction spectra of AlN/diamond layered structure. We can observe also the peak corre- sponding to 共111兲 CVD diamond orientation. the resists’ devel. Then. Calculated values of electromechanical coupling coefficient and phase velocity corresponding of the realized SAW device. This The frequency characterization was carried out using solution selectively etches the aluminum. 88. Figure 2 illustrates the atomic force microscopy 共AFM兲 characterizations which present the results of all the process improvements that have been applied. The used doses range ezoelectric film 共AlN in our case兲 and on the considered from 250 up to 500 ␮C / cm2.2 dicular to the surface.

Elmazria. Shikata. respectively. Redistribution subject to AIP license or copyright. the Takahashi. 98. 223504 共2006兲 1 optimize the frequency response. M. Mortet. Ferroelectr. Status Solidi A 199.8. and H. p. Berlin. are identified. Stafast. IEEE We have demonstrated in this work the realization of Trans. Elmazria. ing e-beam lithography. H. 5. M. 75 共1999兲. Phys. 324 共1994兲. Shikata. Falk. V. and Y. Shikata. M. Ultrason. I. P. B. Meinschen. 2 S. Nesladek. 8 T. Part 1 33. 261. Appl. G. Vanhoyland. G. New Diamond Front. D’Olieslaeger. Kajihara. Lett.85 km s−1. B. Phys. Taking into account the H. Yamamoto. wavelength 共␭ = 2 ␮m兲 and the center frequency value. Dia- propagation modes of SAW in this structure.205. Nesladek. Nakahata. M. O.9 and 5. locities are. K. Alnot. which agree mond Relat.. O. 13. 073531 共2005兲. Phys. Phys. J. ity and electromechanical coupling coefficient. Mater. 1111 共2004兲. serve two additional peaks at 2. see http://apl. We have pointed out the different 7 M. 145 quency. J. Alnot. Appl. O. Assouar. correspond to mode 0 and mode 2. El Hakiki. 9.aip. Fujimori. and C. 共2002兲. Phys. M. M. P. Lett. Springer Series in Mate- This value is in good agreement with the expected one ob. P. Process.223504-3 Kirsch et al. SAW device operating around 5 GHz fundamental fre- D’Haen. 4 V. and A. Alnot. Pigeat. Easwarakhanthan. and P. Control 50. N. Appl. S. Dischler and C. Filtering per. Elmazria. based on AIN/diamond layered structure. 81. thanks to dispersion curves of velocity. Phys.2 km s−1. Alnot. Vanhoyland. Wild 共Springer. 69. Nakahata. Freq. well with the theoretical calculations relative to phase veloc.8 and 10. Low-Pressure Synthetic Diamond. D’Olieslaeger. 9 formances could be enhanced by optimizing the IDT design S. and P. I. 1720 tensities of these two peaks are explained by the low elec. A: Mater. Alnot. Carbon and operating frequency in the range of 10 GHz could be Technol.42 GHz. O.jsp . Appl. rials Processing. M. 5 tromechanical values of the associated modes. 1998兲. We can also ob. Assouar. Nesládek. El Hakiki. calculated acoustic phase velocity is v␸ = f 0␭ = 9. Jpn. The low in. and Sci. 710 共2003兲. G. and P. These peaks 3 J. M. El Hakiki. Behme. Hachigo. Hachigo. Higaki. D’Haen. T. J. tained by calculation for mode 1 共Table I兲. B. Assouar. S683 共1999兲. Appl. Downloaded 02 Oct 2008 to 137. F. M. Y. Elmazria. Mortet. 88. reached by using the higher harmonics. edited by B. Mortet. A. 6 V. Their corresponding ve. M. made us- 共2003兲. J.