Aluminum nitride technology platform
Aluminum nitride (AlN) is a piezoelectric material that can readily be deposited as thin-films on the wafer level. These piezoelectric properties are valuable for MEMS devices as they convert mechanical energy into electrical energy and vice versa. This enables mechanical stresses to directly generate electrical signals (for sensors) or mechanical movements to be achieved with electrical stimuli (for actuators). IME has developed numerous wafer fabrication technology platforms based on AlN for MEMS devices, such as for resonators, energy harvesters, ultrasonic transducers, and other sensors.
Piezoelectric Micromachined Ultrasound
Ultrasound is used in distance ranging, medical imaging, fingerprint imaging, and non-destructive testing. IME has been developing piezoelectric micromachined ultrasonic transducers (pMUTs), which are miniature ultrasonic transducers fabricated using MEMS wafer processing technology. These transducers are much slimmer compared to traditional ultrasound transducers, and can be used in space-constrained locations or for wearables. The transducers can also be directly fabricated on integrated circuits, enabling high quality, high complexity ultrasound imaging.
Hydrophones are underwater microphones. They are able to detect underwater sounds for applications such as pipeline monitoring, underwater communication, fish/ocean mammal research, and ocean resource exploration. IME has developed a miniaturized hydrophone sensor using piezoelectric MEMS technologies. These MEMS hydrophones have significant advantages such as low cost, small size, high signal-to-noise ratio, and low power consumption.