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Proceedings Paper

Microstructuring in LiNbO3: a route to MEMS devices in piezoelectric crystal media
Author(s): Robert William Eason; Ian E. Barry; Graeme W. Ross; Peter G. R. Smith; Corin B.E. Gawith
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Paper Abstract

Ferroelectric materials such as LiNbO3 and LiTaO3 offer many potential advantages over silicon for MEMS structures and self-actuating miniature devices. These materials possess numerous useful intrinsic properties such as piezoelectricity, pyroelectric and electro-optic coefficients, enabling the construction of micro-scale cantilevers, membranes, tips and switches. So far however, reliable and accurate methods for machining and microstructuring LiNbO3 single crystals have been lacking. We have recently been exploring several such methods, which are sensitive to ferroelectric domain orientation. A sample that has been domain-engineered shows a large difference in etch characteristics: the +z face does not etch at all, whereas the -z face etches normally. Microstructured devices can be fabricated therefore, via spatially selective domain poling followed by etching. The extreme sensitivity of the etch process to domain orientation has enabled us to fabricate ridge waveguides for electro-optic modulator applications, alignment grooves for efficient fibre pig-tailing to LiNbO3 modulators, and micro-cantilevers using a novel technique of contact bonding of dissimilar ferroelectric hosts.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 September 2000
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4075, Micro-Opto-Electro-Mechanical Systems, (1 September 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.397924
Show Author Affiliations
Robert William Eason, Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom)
Ian E. Barry, Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom)
Graeme W. Ross, Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom)
Peter G. R. Smith, Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom)
Corin B.E. Gawith, Univ. of Southampton (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4075:
Micro-Opto-Electro-Mechanical Systems
Richard R. A. Syms, Editor(s)

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