The projected force-displacement capability of piezoelectric ceramic films in the 20–50μm thickness range suggests that they are well suited to many micro-fluidic and micro-pneumatic applications. Furthermore when they are configured as bending actuators and operated at ∼1V/μm they do not necessarily conform to the high-voltage, very low-displacement piezoelectric stereotype. Even so they are rarely found today in commercial micro-electromechanical devices, such as micro-pumps and micro-valves, and the main barriers to making them much more widely availability would appear to be processing incompatibilities rather than commercial desirability. In particular, the issues associated with integration of these devices into MEMS at the production level are highly significant and they have perhaps received less attention in the mainstream than they deserve. This paper describes a fabrication route based on ultra-precision ceramic machining and full-wafer bonding for cost-effective batch-scale production of thick film PZT bimorph micro-actuators and their integration with MEMS. The resulting actuators are pre-stressed (ceramic in compression) which gives them added performance, they are true bimorphs with bi-directional capability and they exhibit full bulk piezoelectric ceramic properties. The devices are designed to integrate with ancillary systems components using transfer bonding techniques. The work forms part of the European Framework 6 Project ‘Q2M - Quality to Micro’.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.