Wireless identification and sensing using surface acoustic wave devices
Thesis DisciplineElectrical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Engineering
Wireless Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) devices were fabricated and tested using planar Lithium Niobate (LiNbO₃) as substrate. The working frequencies were in the 180 MHz and 360 MHz range. Using a network analyser, the devices were interrogated with a wireless range of more than 2 metres. Trials with Electron Beam Lithography (EBL) to fabricate SAW devices working in the 2450 MHz with a calculated feature size of 350 nm are discussed. Charging problems became evident as LiNbO₃ is a strong piezoelectric and pyroelectric material. Various attempts were undertaken to neutralise the charging problems. Further investigation revealed that sputtered Zinc Oxide (ZnO) is a suitable material for attaching SAW devices on irregularly shaped material. DC sputtering was used and several parameters have been optimised to achieve the desired piezoelectric effect. ZnO was sputtered using a magnetron sputtering system with a 75 mm Zn target and a DC sputter power of 250 Watts. Several trials were performed and an optimised material has been prepared under the following conditions: 9 sccm of Oxygen and 6 sccm of Argon were introduced during the process which resulted in a process pressure of 1.2x10⁻² mbar. The coatings have been characterised using Rutherford Backscattering, X-ray diffraction, SEM imaging, and Atomic force microscopy. SAW devices were fabricated and tested on 600 nm thick sputtered ZnO on a Si substrate with a working frequency of 430 MHz. The phase velocity has been calculated as 4300m/s. Non-planar samples have been coated with 500 nm of sputtered ZnO and SAW structures have been fabricated on using EBL. The design frequency is 2450 MHz, with a calculated feature size of 1 µm. The surface roughness however prevented a successful lift-off. AFM imaging confirmed a surface roughness in the order of 20 nm. Ways to improve manufacturability on these samples have been identified.