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Design of Piezoelectric Cantilever Microphone and Its

MEMS- Acoustical Circuit for Hearing Aid Devices


Sherif A. Saleh Hamed Elsimary~ Amal Z.~Mohamed~~I
Hesham F. Hamed2
Electronics Research Institute, Cairo, Egypt, 2El-Minia University, El-Minia, Egypt
I

sherieferiefcig

Abstract: A micromachined piezoelectric cantilever


transducer, which works as a microphone has been
designed. The 1800 x 1800 x 2.9wn3 cantilever has a
lead zirconate titnate (PZT) piezoelectric thin film
sandwiched between two Aluminum electrodes on a
supporting layer of silicon nitride. The static analysis of
piezoelectric cantilever is typically performed, which
describes the deflection of a generic m-layer piezoelectric
multitnorph, and acoustic modeling of the microphone has
been described. The maximum deflection at the tip of the
cantilever is 22,pm , and the maximum difference output
voltage between two electrodes is 0. I m V

Index Terms: Microphone, cantilever, model,


piezoelectric, multimorph, (PZT) and acoustic
I. Introduction
Micromachined microphones have potential applications

in hearing aids, surveillance devices, and industrialprocess monitoring. Compared with conventional
microphones, the micromachined ones have potential
advantages of reduced device size, low cost, and the

capability of integration with on-chip circuitry [1].


Air- gap capacitors are widely employed in present
commercialized miniature microphones and many
micromachined microphones. Micronachined air-gap
microphones have acceptable performance, but they suffer
from a fabrication complexity in forming the narrow air
gap between relatively large surfaces.
Piezoelectric microphones, without an air gap, have a
simpler fabrication process than do capacitive
microphones, and are easier to make compared to the
capacitive microphones since the deflection can be
measured directly.
Flowever, the sensitivity of such a microphone is not very
large because of the residual stress in the diaphragm
clamped on all four edges [1]. Table.1 shows the
difference between Piezoelectric and Capacitive
Microphone [2]. In 1996, a piezoelectric microphone built
on a micromachined cantilever was presented by Lee et al.
[31. When comparing the other microphones the clampedclamped diaphragms, the cantilever one is mtch more
compliant and has more improved sensitivity, It is said

that the sensitivity of the cantilever microphone is the


highest of the ever-reported microphones with the
micromachined diaphragms [3]. In addition, when the
cantilever is driven electrically as an output transducer

0-7803-8294-3/04/$20.00 2004 IEEE


897

(Microspeaker), the relatively large deflections of the free


end can produce significant acoustic output.
Table. 1 Piezoelectric
Microphone.

Sensitivity
Polarization
Voltage
Dynamic
Range
Fabrication

CMOS
C pby

Microphone

Vs

Condenser

Piezoelectric
Microphone
Relatively low
Not needed

Condenser
Microphone
Good
Needed

Wide

Relatively Narrow

Simple
Demonstrated
10yrs ago

Relatively

Complicated

Demonstrated 2yrs
ago

As it is known, ZnO thin films used in the piezoelectric


microphone have a low piezoelectric coefficient
(d31 = -5pC / N2). Ferroelectric materials are also
piezoelectric materials, and their piezoelectric coefficient
can be much larger than usual piezoelectric materials. As
a kind if important ferroelectric, lead zirconate

titnate (PZT) exhibits

the strongest piezoelectric


behavior. For this reason, PZT can be widely used in
transducers and other electromechanical devices.
In this paper, a PZT - based cantilever structure used for
the integrated microphone is proposed. It is assumed that
the performance of the new ferroelectrics-silicon
integrated microphone will be much improved because of
the remarkable piezoelectric properties of PZT.

II. PZT Based Cantilever Microphone


Design
Fig. I shows the schematic cross section of the designed
cantilever structure. The structure is composed of

Al / PZT / Al/ SiO2 / Si3 N4 multimorph. A 0.3/ln

Aluminum layer is used as the electrode and barrier layer


to prevent the diffusion between PZT and the silicon
substrate. A 1 .0,n silicon nitride (Si3N4) layer is
used as the supporting structure because of its rigidity and
stiffness. A 0.5pon Silicon dioxide (SiO2) is used to
fasten the bottom electrode to the Si3 N4 substrate. And
finially a 0.3jun Aluminum as the top electrode.

SiO2 (O.5pm)

Al(O.34um)

PZI(O.8wn)

Thus the response or gain of the structure varies with the


stiffness and damping of the structure as well as the nature
of the applied load, including a gravitational or inertial
force.
B. Piezoelectric sensing

Si(30un)

Fig. I Cross-sectional view of the piezoelectric cantilever

microphone
III. Theoretical Design of the Cantilever
Structure

Piezoelectric sensing is based on the piezoelectric effect


of piezoelectric materials. The electrical charge change is
generated when a force is applied across the face of a
piezoelectric film. For a piezoelectric disc of a given
thickness of t, the voltage V generated across the
electrode disc (Fig. 3) when subjected to a stress (T)
would be
V = gtT
(3)

A. Dynamic Behavior ofa Cantilever Microphone

The dynamics of microstructures are also very important


for several reasons. First, the dynamic response of a
cantilever beam, microbridges, or diaphragm determines
the bandwidth of the microsensor, that is, the time taken
for the structure to respond to the applied static load or
follow a dynamic load. Second, the kinetics of the
structure can be used in inertial sensors to measure linear
and angular accelerations. Finally, there is a class of
mechanical sensors based on a microstructure that is
forced to resonate at some characteristic frequency [4]. In
an inertial or resonant sensor, the cantilever beam is
modeled as a movable mass m , connected to a spring with
stiffness constant k in parallel with a damper with a
mechanical damping coeffiqient b (Fig. 2). The mass m
represents the diaphragm ndass, the stiffness cotnstant k
represents the low-frequency sensitivity of the diaphragm,
and the resistance b represents the damping of the
diaphragm movement [5]. The dynamic equation of
motion of a simple microflexural structure can be
approximated to a one-dimensional second-order lump
system model and it can be described by (1)

(I)

mx+ bx+ kx= F,(t)

Where x is the diaphragm deflection, and F1(t)is the


force on the diaphragm caused by the sound pressure. And
the resonant frequency w0 and damping factor {of the
simple microflexural system is given by
o0

AirdaImpinp

i~ I

,,

and

= be..

(2)

F,,,

's;I d''E;,f{/,Xt>/
e ;ov f-.~~~~End mas%^

/.; =

lJ,,, 0

5~ ~ ~ ~i"1 .1k ,

lectro&
Pkv.zeelctrk
dk,c

Fig. 3 Piezoelectric Sensing


Where g is the piezoelectric voltage coefficient. The
piezoelectric sensing is mostly used in the sensors such as
pressure sensors, force sensors, velocity and
accelerometers, hydrophone, microphone, etc.

C. Modelintg and Deflection of the Cantilever

Deflection of the cantilever is an importanit factor for the


microphone structure. A model describing the deflection
of a piezoelectric multimorph structure can be derived by
appealing to the basic mechanics principles of: 1) static
equilibrium and 2) strain compatibility between
successive layers in the device (6]. The basic geometry of
an m-layer multimorph is shown in Fig. 4. In this Figure,
the individual layers may be either piezoelectric or purely
elastic. In the formulation of this model, it is assumed that
slhear effects are negligible, residual stress-induced
curvature may be ignored, beam thickness is much less
than the piezoelectric-induced curvature, and xz -plane
strain and xy -plane stress are enforced.
The total strain at the surface of each layer is given by
superposition of the strain due to the piezoelectric effect,
axial force, and bending. This surface strain is given by
(4), noting that the sign of the strain due to bending will
depend on whether the top or bottom face of the layer is
under observation

i =

piezo

+6axial + Ebend

=d3

+X E

2r

Fig.2 (a) Microflexural type of structure, and (b)


Equivalent lumped model

898

(4)

D. Acoustic Modeling of the Microphone

1I -.X

Fmm

A piezoelectric microphone transforms acoustic energy

into electrical energy by transducing the strain on the top


surface of the deflected membrane, which is deformed by
acoustic pressure into a corresponding change in the
membrane shape. The equivalent circuit for this
microplhone is shown in Fig.5 In this electro-acoustic
analogy, voltage is replaced pressure P(t), and current by
volume velocity U(t) [7].
The equivalent acoustical circuit can describe the
mechanical behavior of the microphone. For a detailed
description of this circuit, the diaphragm can be lumped as
an acoustic mass M, acoustic compliance CA, and
acoustic resistance A There is an additional effective
mass acting on the diaphragm due to the particles
oscillating with the diaphragm [7]. This is equivalent to a
radiation mass Mrad , and radiation resistance Rrod.

Fml

m-l

_-

J____

-~~~~~~~M-

MP2 < ~

M2

RA

Fig. 4 Generic Multimorph Geometry and Cross Section

According to the relationship between the deflection and


the thickness of each layer, the structure of the cantilever
can be optimized.
Based on the multimorph model of the cantilever
structure, the deflection of the cantilever can be obtained

[6]:

6(x)

= X

2r

X2[2d31DK'C1

(5)

2 - DA'B J

d31 is the piezoelectric coupling constant of


the PZT layer, and the matrices A, B, C, and D are
related to the structure parameters of the cantilever.
Ai, E, T, and I are the area, the effective Young's
modulus, the thickness, and the moment inertia of the ith
layer in the multimorph model, respectively.
_1/

A2E2

E1

0AE

A2E2

Z, =(RA +Rrd)+ij(MA +Mr 1d)+

-I/

-1/

/A3E3

A3E3

o~~I~A

Fig.5 Electro-acoustical circuit diagram of the


piezoelectric microphionie
The total equivalent impedance of the circuit (Z, )

1/

/A3E3

m4nlEm-a

-1AmErE

ti + t2
t2

+ t3

|,And
tEt-l
rn-

899

+ tm

i2)
EEI
i=l

2)

i
(,t

2)j

-LJ

(6)

E. Sensitivity of the Microphone

The sensitivity of a microphone can be defined


as S0 = a V/OP. According to the equations by Smits et
al. 18]:

|(b,l b12 b,3 b14 m(


jjb2, b22 b23 b24 I F
v Li31 L32 b33 b34 P(7
Q)tb4l b42 b43 b44 V)v

a
v

Table.2 Material Constant for the Design of the Cantilever


Structure.

aQ/lP = b43

aQ/av
=

PZT Si 3 N4SO2
4 SiO2

Materials

Conistants

where a, 6, v, and Q are the slope of the cantilever, the


deflection of the tip of the cantilever, the volumetric
displacement of the cantilever, and the charge on the
electrodes, respectively. M, F, P, and V are ?espectively,
the external moment at the tip, the force at the tip, the
body force acting uniformly over the cantilever, and the
voltage across the electrodes.
SO can be calculated as

S 0 =aV/p

fundamental structure model and lumped-dynamic model


have been employed in the design of this device. MEMS Acoustical circuit diagram is presented for this cantilever
microphone. The performance characteristics of this
piezoelectric microphone are comparable to, if not better
than, other similarly sized MEMS microphones.
Preliminary simulation results indicate wide dynamic
range, and flat frequency response.

Piezoelectric

d3(pC IN )

32.4

Realative

,33

200

Coefficient
Dielectric

Constant

Young's

modulus

Poisson's
ratio
Density

(N / m

1WIY
N)
0.3

o(Kg Ini)

Al

7d

DxB

0.28

0.5

0.25

7,75x1d a18x103 225x10i 27xlOd

(8)

where C is the capacitance of the ferroelectric capacitor.

IV. Simulation Results


Structural simulation has bee]c done inli ANSYS 7.0 to
predict the electromechanical beliavior of the piezoelectric
membrane. For the 2.9nim membrane, the maximum
deflection at the tip of the diaphragm is simulated to be
22,um at sound pressure 0. Ibar (Fig. 6), the band width
is expected to be 12 KHz, and the voltage difference
between the two electrodes is 0.1 mV at sound pressure
O.lbar.

Fig.6 The deflection of the diaphragm

Conclusions
A novel ferroelectrics PZT layer is used to replace the
normal piezoelectric later in the cantilever Material
constants used in the design are listed in Table 2. A

References

[I] Ren Tian-Ling, Zhang Lin-Tao, Liu Li-Tian, and Li

Zhi-Jian, "Design Optimization of Beam- Like


Ferroelectrics-Silicon Microplhone and Microspeaker,"

IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and


TFrequency Control, Vol. 49, No.2, Februtary 2002.
[2] Eun Sok Kim, "CMOS- Compatible Piezoelectric
Microphone," Departmetit of Electrical Engineering Electrophysics, University of southern California, Los
Angeles, CA, 1999.
[3] Seung S Lee, Robert P. Ried, and Richard M. White,"
Piezoelectric
Cantilever
Microphone
and

Microspeaker,"Journal
of
Microlectromechanical
Systems, Vol. 5, No.
4, December 1996.
[41 Julian W. Gardner, Osama 0. Awadelkarimn,"
Microsensors MEMS and Smart Devices," Wiley,
Englar)d, 200 1.
[5] P.R Scheeper, A. G. H. Van der donk, "Fabrication of
Silicon Condenser Microphones using Single Wafer
Technology," Journal of Microlectromechanical Systems,
Vol. 1, No. 3, September 1992.
[6] Don L. DeVoe and Albert P. Pisano, "Modeling and
Optimal Design of Piezoelectric Cantilever
Microactuators," Journal of Microlectromechanical
Systems, Vol. 6, No.3, September 1997.
[7] Mark Sheplak, John M. Seiner, Martin A. Schmidth,
"A MEMS Microphone for Aeroacoustics
Measurements," The American Institute of Aeronautics
and Astronautics, 1999.
[8] J. G. Smits and A. Ballato, "Dynamic admittanc'e
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Microlectromechanical Systems, Vol. 3, pp. 105- 111,,
September 1994.

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