Thin film acoustic waveguides and resonators for gravimetric sensing applications in liquid

by Francis, Laurent A.

Abstract (Summary)
The fields of health care and environment control have an increasing demand for sensors able to detect low concentrations of specific molecules in gaseous or liquid samples. The recent introduction of microfabricated devices in these fields gave rise to sensors with attractive properties. A cutting edge technology is based on guided acoustic waves, which are perturbed by events occurring at the nanometer scale. A first part of the thesis investigates the Love mode waveguide, a versatile structure in which a thin film is guiding the acoustic wave generated in a piezoelectric substrate. A systematic analysis of its sensitivity was obtained using a transmission line model generalized to discriminate the rigid or viscous nature of the probed layers. We developed a novel integrated combination of the Love mode device with a Surface Plasmon Resonance optical sensor to quantify the thickness and the composition of soft layers. The electromagnetic interferences in the recorded signal were modeled to determine the phase velocity in the sensing area and to provide new mechanisms for an enhanced sensitivity. The experimental aspects of this work deal with the fabrication, the important issue of the packaging and the sensitivity calibration of the Love mode biosensor. A second part of the thesis investigates nanocrystalline diamond under the form of a thin film membrane suspended to a rigid silicon frame. The high mechanical and chemical resistance of nanocrystalline diamond, close to single-crystal diamond, open ways to membrane based acoustic sensors such as Flexural Plate Wave and thin Film Bulk Acoustic Resonators (FBAR). A novel dynamic characterization of the thin film is reported and the properties of composite FBAR devices including a diamond thin film membrane and a piezoelectric aluminum nitride layer are assessed using the perturbation theory. This study is applied to evaluate the high sensing potential of the first prototype of an actual diamond-based composite FBAR.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Université catholique de Louvain

School Location:Belgium

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:gravimetric sensor biosensor liquid cell saw packaging electromagnetic interference thin film characterization acoustic waveguide resonator love waves flexural plate nanocrystalline diamond fbar


Date of Publication:02/01/2006

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