Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
Proceedings of SPIE 8973, Micromachining and Microfabrication Process Technology XIX,
This paper discusses research being conducted on aluminum nitride (AlN) as a pyroelectric material for use in detecting applications. AlN is being investigated because of its high pyroelectric coefficient, thermal stability, and high Curie temperature. In order to determine suitability of the pyroelectric properties of AlN for use as a detector, testing of several devices was conducted. These devices were fabricated using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) fabrication processes; the devices were also designed to allow for voltage and current measurements. The deposited AlN films used were 150 nm – 300 nm in thickness. Thin-films were used to rapidly increase the temperature response after the thermal stimulus was applied to the pyroelectric material. This is important because the pyroelectric effect is directly proportional to the rate of temperature change. The design used was a face-electrode bridge that provides thermal isolation which minimizes heat loss to the substrate, thereby increasing operation frequency of the pyroelectric device. A thermal stimulus was applied to the pyroelectric material and the response was measured across the electrodes. A thermal imaging camera was used to monitor the changes in temperature. Throughout the testing process, the annealing temperatures, type of layers, and thicknesses were also varied. These changes resulted in improved MEMS designs, which were fabricated to obtain an optimal design configuration for achieving a high pyroelectric response. A pyroelectric voltage response of 38.9 mVp-p was measured without filtering, 12.45 mVp-p was measured in the infrared (IR) region using a Si filter, and 6.38 mVp-p was measured in the short wavelength IR region using a long pass filter. The results showed that AlN’s pyroelectric properties can be used in detecting applications.