Design and analysis of microelectromechanical resonators with ultra-low dissipation
Sorenson, Logan D.
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This dissertation investigates dissipation in microelectromechanical (MEMS) resonators via detailed analysis and modeling of the energy loss mechanisms and provides a framework toward creating resonant devices with ultra-low dissipation. Fundamental mechanisms underlying acoustic energy loss are explored, the results of which are applied to understanding the losses in resonant MEMS devices. Losses in the materials, which set the ultimate limits of the achievable quality factor of the devices, are examined. Other sources of loss, which are determined by the design of the resonator, are investigated and applied to example resonant MEMS structures. The most critical of these designable loss mechanisms are thermoelastic dissipation (TED) and support (or anchor) loss of acoustic energy through the attachment of the MEMS device to its external environment. The dissipation estimation framework enables prediction of the quality factor of a MEMS resonator, which were accurate within a factor of close to 2 for high-frequency bulk acoustic wave MEMS resonators, and represents a signficant step forward by closing one of the largest outstanding problems in MEMS devices: how to predict the quality factor for a given device. Dissipation mitigation approaches developed herein address the most critical dominant loss mechanisms identified using the framework outlined above. These approaches include design of 1D phononic crystals (PCs) and novel 3D MEMS structures to trap and isolate vibration energy away from the resonator anchors, optimization of resonator geometry to suppress thermoelastic dissipation, and analysis of required levels of surface polish to reduce surface dissipation. Phononic crystals can be used to manipulate the properties of materials. In the case of the 1D PC linear acoustic bandgap (LAB) structures developed here, this manipulation arises from the formation of frequency stop bands, or bandgapwhich convert silicon from a material capable of supporting acoustic waves to a material which rejects acoustic propagation at frequencies in the bandgap. The careful design of these LAB structures is demonstrated to be able to enhance the quality factor and insertion loss of MEMS resonators without significant detrimental effects on the overall device performance.
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