Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Engineering

Department

Chemical and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Richard E. Eitel

Second Advisor

Dr. Fuqian Yang

Abstract

The incorporation of active piezoelectric elements and fluidic components into micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) is of great interest for the development of sensors, actuators, and integrated systems used in microfluidics. Low temperature cofired ceramics (LTCC), widely used as electronic packaging materials, offer the possibility of manufacturing highly integrated microfluidic systems with complex 3-D features and various co-firable functional materials in a multilayer module. It would be desirable to integrate high performance lead zirconate titanate (PZT) based ceramics into LTCC-based MEMS using modern thick film and 3-D packaging technologies. The challenges for fabricating functional LTCC/PZT devices are: 1) formulating piezoelectric compositions which have similar sintering conditions to LTCC materials; 2) reducing elemental inter-diffusion between the LTCC package and PZT materials in co-firing process; and 3) developing active piezoelectric layers with desirable electric properties.

The goal of present work was to develop low temperature fired PZT-based materials and compatible processing methods which enable integration of piezoelectric elements with LTCC materials and production of high performance integrated multilayer devices for microfluidics. First, the low temperature sintering behavior of piezoelectric ceramics in the solid solution of Pb(Zr0.53,Ti0.47)O3-Sr(K0.25, Nb0.75)O3 (PZT-SKN) with sintering aids has been investigated. 1 wt% LiBiO2 + 1 wt% CuO fluxed PZT-SKN ceramics sintered at 900oC for 1 h exhibited desirable piezoelectric and dielectric properties with a reduction of sintering temperature by 350oC. Next, the fluxed PZT-SKN tapes were successfully laminated and co-fired with LTCC materials to build the hybrid multilayer structures. HL2000/PZT-SKN multilayer ceramics co-fired at 900oC for 0.5 h exhibited the optimal properties with high field d33 piezoelectric coefficient of 356 pm/V. A potential application of the developed LTCC/PZT-SKN multilayer ceramics as a microbalance was demonstrated. The final research focus was the fabrication of an HL2000/PZT-SKN multilayer piezoelectric micropump and the characterization of pumping performance. The measured maximum flow rate and backpressure were 450 μl/min and 1.4 kPa respectively. Use of different microchannel geometries has been studied to improve the pumping performance. It is believed that the high performance multilayer piezoelectric devices implemented in this work will enable the development of highly integrated LTCC-based microfluidic systems for many future applications.

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