PhD Studentship: Lead-free Ferroelectric KNN-based Microelectromechanical Systems

Ref: EngSci-ELM- 102

Deadline: Applications will be accepted at any time until the position is filled.

Among the lead-free ferroelectric materials, (K,Na)NbO3 (KNN) family is a promising candidate because it has relatively large piezoelectric coefficients and a high Curie temperature. KNN-based thin films have also been demonstrated with outstanding piezoelectric voltage constants that rivals the currently market-dominant  PZT thin films. This implies that there is significant potential in applying KNN-based thin films in piezoelectric sensors.

In this project, we explore the integration of KNN-based ferroelectric films in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). The aim is to demonstrate a feasible alternative to PZT-based MEMS devices due to the industry-wide push to eliminate toxic lead from consumer electronics. Unlike the well-developed etching processes for PZT films, patterning techniques for KNN-based films are relatively unexplored. Hence, suitable process integration routes for incorporating these KNN-based films in MEMS devices will be developed.

This project is part of a collaboration between the University of Southampton and A*STAR Singapore’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE). The successful candidate will spend two years at A*STAR IMRE and during this time he will be supervised by Dr Kui Yao from IMRE. The candidate will be supervised by Dr Suan Hui Pu whilst based at the University of Southampton.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Suan Hui Pu, USMC and Electromechanical Research Group, Email:, Tel: +60 7 560 2 461 

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