Functional Materials and Microsystems – Projects

Energy Harvesting Micro- and Nano-Devices

Voltage generation from piezoelectric thin films

Voltage generation from piezoelectric thin films
Adv. Funct. Mater. 21 2251 (2011)

This research project focuses on energy harvesting using piezoelectrics from low frequency vibrations for powering micro- and nanodevices. Energy harvesting using piezoelectric thin films in a novel approach, reliant on high performance materials that can be integrated into device fabrication processes. The use of piezoelectrics in the form of thin films enables the realisation of innovative designs.

This research project is funded by the Australian Research Council (Discovery Project DP1092717, 2010-2014) and RMIT University (Emerging Researcher Grant, 2010).

Synthesis and Characterisation of Piezoelectric Thin Films

Electric field and piezoresponse enhancement in nanostructured piezoelectric thin films

Electric field and piezoresponse enhancement in nanostructured piezoelectric thin films
ACS Nano 5 1067 (2011)

Piezoelectric thin film capability is an excellent and diverse platform for micro- and nano-scale research. Our group carries out extensive research into the synthesis and micro- and nano-scale characterisation of piezoelectric thin films. It utilises a combination of optimised RF sputtering processes; a full suite of microscopy, spectroscopy, and diffraction capabilities; and novel electromechanical characterisation techniques. The materials studied encompass complex oxide perovskite zirconates, titanates, and niobates.

This research project has received funding from the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (2006-2008), the CASS Foundation (2008), and the Australian Research Council (Linkage, Infrastructure, and Equipment LE0882246, 2008 and LE120100004, 2012).

Dynamic Plasmonic Devices

Micro-device for electric field induced surface enhanced Raman scattering

Micro-device for electric field induced surface enhanced Raman scattering
J. Am. Chem. Soc134 4646 (2012)

The use of functional oxides, with specific focus on three properties – electro-optic effect, piezoelectricity, and ferroelectricity – will allow fundamental scientific investigations into plasmonic effects. Moreover, the multidisciplinary combination of fundamental physical concepts and electronic materials/devices will enable innovative experimental approaches. Unexplored research areas envisioned are the use of controlled ferroelectric domain thin films for second harmonic generation and the use of active tuning of metallic nanoparticles for plasmonic devices.

This research project is funded by the Australian Research Council (Discovery Project DP110100262, 2011-2014) and has received equipment funding also from the Australian Research Council (Linkage, Infrastructure, and Equipment LE100100215, 2010).

Memristor Micro- and Nano-Devices

Graph 2

Current-voltage performance of a memristor micro-device
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 15 10376 (2013)

Memristors are considered the fourth, and until recently the missing, electronic circuit element. They have unique properties by which they remember their previous electronic experiences, making them suitable for multi-state and artificial memories. This project will deliver new knowledge pertaining to the functioning of materials in memristor micro- and nano-devices, with scientific data to enable the design of interfaces and materials for high-speed switching. This will enable memristors to be the basic building blocks for artificial grey matter.

This research project is funded by the Australian Research Council (Discovery Project DP130100062, 2013-2015) and received seed funding support from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, RMIT University (2011) with equipment funding from the Australian Research Council (Linkage, Infrastructure, and Equipment LE120100004, 2012).

Resistive Properties of Thin Film Interfaces

Schematic of a cross Kelvin resistor test structure

Schematic of a cross Kelvin resistor test structure
IEEE Electron Dev. Lett29 259 (2008)

Advancements in nanotechnology have created the need for efficient means of communication of electrical signals to nanostructures. Electrical contacts made to such nanodevices need to pose minimum possible contact resistance. In order to study and estimate the resistance of such contacts or the resistance posed by the interface(s) in such contacts, accurate test structures and evaluation techniques are required. We have developed some of the most accurate and rigorously evaluated techniques for characterising the interfacial resistive properties. During the course of this work, we have also synthesised and characterised high quality (titanium and nickel) silicide thin films.

This research project has received funding from the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (2006-2008) and is partially supported by the Australian Research Council (Discovery Project DP130100062, 2013-2015).

Flexible Electronic and Electromagnetic Devices

Flexible electrodes and fishnet array on silicone substrates

Flexible electrodes and fishnet array on silicone substrates
Appl. Phys. Lett100 061101 (2012)

Our group harnesses its expertise in materials science and microfabrication to realise flexible electronic devices. The devices we make are predominantly on silicone (PDMS) substrates, with potential to incorporate pneumatics and microfluidics. We have developed novel pneumatic radio frequency switches, flexible thin film resistors, and terahertz fishnet metamaterials.

This research project has received seed funding from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, RMIT University (2010).


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