A mixing surface acoustic wave device for liquid sensing applications: Design, simulation, and analysis

ThuHang Bui*, Bruno Morana, Tom Scholtes, Trinh Chu Duc, Pasqualina M. Sarro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This work presents the mixing wave generation of a novel surface acoustic wave (M-SAW) device for sensing in liquids. Two structures are investigated: One including two input and output interdigital transducer (IDT) layers and the other including two input and one output IDT layers. In both cases, a thin (1 μm) piezoelectric AlN layer is in between the two patterned IDT layers. These structures generate longitudinal and transverse acoustic waves with opposite phase which are separated by the film thickness. A 3-dimensional M-SAW device coupled to the finite element method is designed to study the mixing acoustic wave generation propagating through a delay line. The investigated configuration parameters include the number of finger pairs, the piezoelectric cut profile, the thickness of the piezoelectric substrate, and the operating frequency. The proposed structures are evaluated and compared with the conventional SAW structure with the single IDT layer patterned on the piezoelectric surface. The wave displacement along the propagation path is used to evaluate the amplitude field of the mixing longitudinal waves. The wave displacement along the AlN depth is used to investigate the effect of the bottom IDT layer on the transverse component generated by the top IDT layer. The corresponding frequency response, both in simulations and experiments, is an additive function, consisting of sinc(X) and uniform harmonics. The M-SAW devices are tested to assess their potential for liquid sensing, by dropping liquid medium in volumes between 0.05 and 0.13 μl on the propagation path. The interaction with the liquid medium provides information about the liquid, based on the phase attenuation change. The larger the droplet volume is, the longer the duration of the phase shift to reach stability is. The resolution that the output change of the sensor can measure is 0.03 μl.

Original languageEnglish
Article number074504
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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