Surface acoustic waves on PZT thin films for particle manipulation (3S017019)
Piezoelectric materials are able to convert an applied electrical signal into mechanical strain and stress. By using an electrical signal with a certain frequency, it is possible to generate an acoustic signal with the same frequency. Specially designed devices are able to generate the acoustic signals along the surface of a substrate. The generated Surface Acoustic Waves (SAWs) propagate on top of this piezoelectric substrate. Devices using SAWs can be found in various applications such as sensing, microfluidics and telecommunication.In this project I will build upon the expertise that was developed at Ghent University to deposit high-quality lead zirconate titanate (PZT) thin films. It has been demonstrated that this material has excellent electro-optic properties. In my project I want to demonstrate that it is also an ideal piezoelectric material to create SAWs. By careful optimization and design, the goal is to develop a platform for manipulating particles. We chose PZT as a thin film material since it has the advantage of being integrable into lab-on-a-chip (LOC) devices. LOC devices offer the possibility to integrate photonic, electronic and microfluidic functionality on a single chip. The long term goal is to offer a single small device which is easy to operate and which is able to replace bulky lab-scale devices for medical or sensing applications.