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See detailFATIGUE AND BREAKDOWN STUDIES OF SOLUTION DEPOSITED OXIDE FERROELECTRIC THIN FILMS
Aruchamy, Naveen UL

Doctoral thesis (2022)

Ferroelectric materials are ubiquitous in several applications and offer advantages for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) in their thin film form. However, novel applications require ferroelectric ... [more ▼]

Ferroelectric materials are ubiquitous in several applications and offer advantages for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) in their thin film form. However, novel applications require ferroelectric films to be deposited on various substrates, which requires effective integration and know-how of the material response when selecting a substrate for film deposition. As substrate-induced stress can alter the ferroelectric properties of the films, the knowledge of how stress changes the ferroelectric response under different actuation conditions is essential. Furthermore, the stress-dependent behavior raises the question of understanding the reliability and degradation mechanisms under cyclic electric loading. Therefore, the ferroelectric thin film’s fatigue and breakdown characteristics become more relevant. Lead zirconate titanate (PZT) thin films are popular among other ferroelectric materials. However, there is a tremendous effort made in the direction of finding a lead-free alternative to PZT. Ferroelectric thin films can be deposited using different processing techniques. In this work, the chemical solution deposition route is adapted for depositing PZT thin films on transparent and non-transparent substrates. A correlation between the substrate-induced ferroelectric properties and processing conditions with different electrode configurations is established. Finite element modeling is used to understand the influence of the design parameters of the co-planar interdigitated electrodes for fabricating fully transparent PZT stacks. In-plane and out-of-plane ferroelectric properties of PZT thin films in metal-insulator-metal (MIM) and interdigitated electrode (IDE) geometries, respectively, on different substrates, are compared to establish the connection between the stress-induced effect and the actuation mode. It is shown that the out-of-plane polarization is high under in-plane compressive stress but reduced by nearly four times by in-plane tensile stress. In contrast, the in-plane polarization shows an unexpectedly weak stress dependence. The fatigue behavior of differently stressed PZT thin films with IDE structures is reported for the first time in this study. The results are compared to the fatigue behavior of the same films in MIM geometry. PZT films in MIM geometry, irrespective of the stress state, show a notable decrease in switchable polarization during fatigue cycling. In contrast, the films actuated with IDEs have much better fatigue resistance. The primary fatigue mechanism is identified as domain wall pinning by charged defects. The observed differences in fatigue behavior between MIM and IDE geometries are linked to the orientation of the electric field with respect to the columnar grain structure of the films. Hafnium oxide, an emerging and widely researched lead-free alternative to PZT for non-volatile ferroelectric memory application, is also explored in this work. The breakdown properties of chemical solution-deposited ferroelectric hafnium oxide thin films are also studied. The structure-property relationship for stabilizing the ferroelectric phase in solution-deposited hafnium oxide thin films is established. Furthermore, the effect of processing conditions on the ferroelectric switching behavior and breakdown characteristics are demonstrated and correlated with the possible mechanism. [less ▲]

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