In this paper, we conduct experimental and theoretical studies of a lead-zirconate-titanate (PZT) thin-film microactuator probe submerged in water. The microactuator consists of a base silicon diaphragm, a layer of bottom electrode, a layer of lead-zirconate-titanate (PZT) thin film, and a layer of top electrode. The diaphragm is anchored on a silicon substrate by etching the silicon substrate from the back to form a cavity under the diaphragm. The diaphragm along with part of its anchor is then diced off from the silicon substrate to form a PZT probe and subsequently packaged with parylene. The probe tip has dimensions of 1 mm × 1 mm × 0.4 mm, while the diaphragm has dimensions of 800 μm × 800 μm × 2 μm. In the experimental study, frequency response functions of actuator displacement are measured via a laser Doppler vibrometer and a spectrum analyzer. The measurements show that the first natural frequency of the microactuator reduces from 80 kHz in air to 20 kHz when the microactuator is submerged in water. A literature search indicates that the surrounding water induces significant added mass to the microactuator. Estimation of the added mass based on theories in fluid mechanics successfully reconcile the predicted frequency to the vicinity of 20 kHz confirming the effects of added mass.

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