Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Ashok Kumar, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Jing Wang, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Muhammad Rahman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Makoto Hirai, Ph.D.


Pld, Sputtering, AFM, XRD, Resonator, Nanoindentation


Zinc oxide is a very versatile material that can be used in many microsystems and MEMS applications. ZnO thin film has been utilized in a wide variety of MEMS devices because of its unique piezoelectric, optical, and electrical properties. In particular, piezoelectric property of ZnO can be used in numerous applications from resonators and filters to mass sensors and micro-actuators (e.g., micro-valve and micro-pump). Because of its versatility, this research was focused on analyzing some key properties of ZnO thin film achieved by two different deposition techniques, Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) and Sputtering. Multiple experiments were conducted in order to identify the best conditions for the growth of ZnO thin film. Under the optimum conditions, the ZnO thin films will provide the best piezoelectric performance in devices such as microcantilevers.

In order to find the best deposition conditions in both PLD and Sputtering multiple depositions have been done and then analyzed using the XRD, AFM, FTIR, nanoindenter, and ellipsometer. For the PLD the best conditions were found to be at 200°C with a partial pressure of O2 of 100 millitorr. For the sputtering system the best film formed when the substrate temperature was kept at 400°C along with RF power of 250 Watts, and a flow rate of 25% O2 and 75% Ar. Both experiments were similar in the fact that both a certain amount of O2 in the chamber and an elevated temperature are needed to facilitate the formation of ZnO crystal structure.