Mechanical Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 11-13-2022


Lead zirconate titanate (PZT) has been a material of interest for sensor, actuator, and transducer applications in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). This is due to their favorable piezoelectric, pyroelectric and ferroelectric properties. While various methods are available to deposit PZT thin films, radio frequency (RF) magnetron sputtering was selected to provide high quality PZT films with the added capability of batch processing. These sputter deposited PZT films were characterized to determine their internal film stress, Young’s modulus, composition, and structure. After characterization, the sputtered PZT samples were poled using corona poling and direct poling methods. As a means of comparison, commercially deposited sol-gel PZT films were also characterized and poled. To assess the mechanical viability of the sol-gel and sputter deposited PZT films, the neutral axis and eigenfrequencies with each type of deposited PZT were determined for a typical MEMS device stack. It was discovered that highly tailored PZT films are possible with RF magnetron sputtering as a result of its adjustable deposition parameters allowing for a highly controlled and tunable process. However, further optimization is required to produce PZT films with the correct composition and structure.


PZT, Lead Zirconate Titanate, Radio Frequency (RF) Magnetron Sputtering, piezoelectric

Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Nathan Jackson

Second Committee Member

Dr. Matthias Pleil

Third Committee Member

Dr. Christina Salas

Document Type