Susan Trolier-McKinstry to deliver Friday’s EMA plenary after AFOSR speaker cancels.

Last week I wrote about a memo sent by the deputy secretary of DOD to the entire agency encouraging proactive spending cuts, including cutbacks on travel, conferences, and training. It did not take long for DOD brass to embrace the recommendations, and we just got word that this week’s Electronic Materials and Applications meeting is affected. Unfortunately, the Friday morning plenary speaker, Kitt Reinhart, program manager at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, did not get approval to attend the meeting and give the plenary talk.

The good news is that Susan Trolier-McKinstry from Pennsylvania State University has agreed to step up and deliver the Friday plenary talk. Her plenary talk is “Designing Piezoelectric Films for Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)” and the abstract follows. She also is coauthor of three talks and chairing a session in the “Functional and Multifunctional Electroceramics” symposium. Busy lady!

ACerS and the Basic Science Division and the Electronics Division appreciate the generosity of both Reinhart and Trolier-McKinstry to share their time and expertise!

“Designing Piezoelectric Films for Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)”

Susan Trolier-McKinstry, Materials Science and Engineering Department and Materials Research Institute, Pennsylvania State University

Piezoelectric thin films are of increasing interest in low voltage microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) for sensing, actuation, and energy harvesting. They also serve as model systems to study fundamental behavior in piezoelectrics. Piezoelectric MEMS devices range over a wide range of length scales. On the extreme upper end are large area devices for applications such as adaptive optics. In this case, the piezoelectric film can be used to produce local deformation of a mirror surface, in order to correct figure errors associated with fabrication of the component or to correct for atmospheric distortion.  For example, should a mission such as Gen-X be flown, it would require up to 10,000 square meters of actuatable optics in order to correct the figures of the nested hyperboloid reflecting segments. In this case, the “micro” in “microelectromechanical systems” is clearly a misnomer, although the fabrication techniques would involve conventional micromachining for patterning of the electrodes. Many Piezoelectric MEMS devices are fabricated at intermediate length scales (tens of microns to 1 centimeter). Here, examples will be given of piezoelectric energy harvesting devices. We have recently demonstrated improvements in the energy harvesting figure of merit for the piezoelectric layer by factors of 4–10. Finally, piezoelectric MEMS are also attracting attention at a substantially smaller size scale (tens of nanometers) as a potential replacement for CMOS electronics. Examples of the materials choice as well as specific devices at all three of these length scales will also be discussed.