Micromachined silicon cantilever beams actuated by the converse piezoelectric effect are of great interest for actuator applications, e.g. micro relays or micro mirrors. For the miniaturization and cost saving aspects the combination of silicon bulk micromachining and chemical solution deposition (CSD) technique for the ceramic thin films is very promising.
This paper presents the results of such a fabrication process for a PbZr0.45Ti0.55O3 (PZT) thin film micro actuator for a switch application. The actuator was designed with lengths of 190-990 μm, widths of 60-120 μm, and a complete thickness of 1.5 μm. Wherein the piezoelectric PZT function layer has a thickness of 350 nm. For a distance of 10 μm between the switch contacts and an applied voltage of 10 V a finite element analysis simulation (FEA) was carried out to obtain the principal stress contribution, the optimum cantilever length, the sensitivity, the resonance frequency and the switch contact force. The bending beams were characterized by laser interferometry, resonance frequency, and force measurements. These characterization results are compared to the FEM analyses and to an analytical approach.