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Transduction and Fabrication Study of a 3-axis Piezoelectric GaAs Microgyroscope

Dr. Adrien Piot CTR

Abstract : A 3 axis gyroscope allows, with a single mechanical structure, the measurement of rotation rates of an object around 3 perpendicular spatial axes. Existing 3 axis microgyroscopes are scarce and typically resonating, made in silicon technology by surface micromachining, use electrostatic transductions and are designed for high volume applications where size and cost are major characteristics. In this thesis we investigated the transduction and fabrication process of a resonating 3 axis microgyroscope having piezoelectric actuation and detection, made in semi-insulating GaAs by bulk micromachining, and with performances potentially much higher than state of the art while limiting the size and cost. This microgyroscope requires a 3D piezoelectric transduction and circuitry which were modelled and optimized to reduce cross-talks effects. An original batch fabrication process was developed, modelled and characterized. This process notably makes use of very deep through wafer reactive ion etching of GaAs in a BCl3-Cl2 plasma. It is demonstrated for the first time that a through wafer highly anisotropic etching of 450 μm deep trenches can be realized owing to etching parameters optimization and the use of a resist masking layer. An original deposition and patterning process of Au/Cr electrodes on the vertical walls of an etched structure by oblique evaporation on rotated substrate through a dry film shadow mask has also been investigated in details. A fine characterization of the crystallographic structure, resistivity and mechanical stress before, during and after annealing of Au/Cr films evaporated under oblique incidence has been performed. Full microgyroscopes with the whole 3D transduction system were realized. Preliminary characterizations of realized gyroscopes by out-of-plane and in-plane optical vibrometry demonstrated promising results. Finally, different ways to improve the design and fabrication process are proposed.

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