The main goal of piezoVolume is to develop an integrated high-volume production process for piezoelectric microsystems.

This goal will be realised by reaching the following subgoals:

Building a competence centre that covers the whole integrated production process for piezoelectric microsystems
This competence centre will act as contact point during and after the project. It will:

  • Create new market opportunities for the SME partners of the project, both as production tool suppliers and as end-users of the technology. The project will fabricate device prototypes that will demonstrate the feasibility of the technology for the end user partners.
  • Disseminate information and the project results: in particular to developers and suppliers of electronic components and systems.

Process line overview

Developing high volume deposition tools for high quality PZT thin films (elimination of bottleneck 1)
Throughput of the deposition process for PZT thin films is the most serious bottleneck that has to be overcome before a high volume process chain is to become a reality. This process should fulfil the following criteria:

  • Throughput rate of at least 3 and ultimately 4 wafers per hour (11.200-15.000 wafers/year @ 43% uptime. 12h a day and 6d a week)
  • Accuracy/quality measured by a wafer level in-line quality monitoring tool.
  • Flexibility, the tools will be tailored for deposition of PZT but can also be suitable for deposition of many other functional oxides
  • Modular process, the tools can ultimately be installed as add-ons to existing equipment.
  • A deposition cost of 10-20 €/µmwafer due to consumables and equipment depreciation @ 43% uptime. This means only 4-8 eurocents per 1x1 cm device using 200 mm wafers.

Developing in-line testing and quality inspection equipment in piezoelectric thin film deposition (elimination of bottleneck 2)
Due to the challenges faced when products are based on new materials the time needed to develop new testing concepts, are typically underestimated. In piezoVolume attention is paid to the development of in-line quality monitoring right from the beginning. These quality assurance methods, should have the following properties:

  • A throughput of 10 wafers per hour (37.500 wafers/year @ 43% uptime. 12h a day and 6d a week)
  • Non-destructive
  • Modular tool that can be installed as add-ons to existing equipment.
  • High accuracy of 10% of e31,f
  • A cost per wafer of 4 €/wafer due to equipment depreciation @ 43% uptime

Developing piezoMEMS specific modelling tools and process emulation (elimination of bottleneck 3)
A readily available modelling tool from a commercial supplier will increase the accessibility to piezoMEMS as well as decrease risk and time needed to develop new piezoMEMS devices. These modelling tools should have the following characteristics:

  • Speed. Simulation times for the new models should be significantly faster than conventional FEM techniques used today (minimum 5-10 times faster i.e. in the range of minutes and hours)
  • Accuracy. A higher accuracy can be expected due to better characterized material and process properties.
  • Accepted by industry. The new modelling tools should be implemented into environments and design flows that are accepted and widely used by industry and compatible with already established design flows and industry standard development methodologies.

Published April 21, 2010

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2010-2013) under grant agreement n° 229196