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Materials Science at Oregon State University

Design and Processing of PiezoMEMS

Date: Thursday, Nov 20th
Presenter: Ron Polcawich, Ph. D., U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Adelphi, MD


Combing piezoelectric thin films with microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) enables a wide array of specialty devices and applications. However, the device design and fabrication process entails much more than simply depositing the piezoelectric layer and using fundamental linear piezoelectric equations for design. Several key questions must be addressed first. Which piezoelectric material should be chosen? Will residual stress be of concern? Is it possible to design actuators with both in-plane and out-of-plane motion? These questions and others will be addressed by this presentation using examples from two PiezoMEMS applications areas currently understudy at the US Army Research Laboratory. The first application area is RF MEMS and will cover switches, resonators, and phased array antennas. Next, the results from the RF MEMS devices build upon themselves to enable mm-Scale Robotics covering both ground and air mobility along with enabling sensor and control networks.

Ronald G. Polcawich is a staff researcher in the Micro and Nano Materials and Devices Branch of US Army Research Laboratory (ARL), Adelphi, MD. He received a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University (1997), and M.S. degree in Materials from Penn State University (1999), and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Penn State University (2007). He is currently the team lead for the RF MEMS and mm-Scale Robotics programs at ARL. His research activities include materials processing of PZT thin films, MEMS fabrication, piezoelectric MEMS, RF components, MEMS actuators, and mm-scale robotics.