IIT-M, DRDO develop underwater sensor technology

The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-Madras) Researchers partnered with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Scientists to develop cutting-edge sensor technology – ‘Piezoelectric MEMS technology’ – for underwater communications, which will be advantageous to defence applications, especially in the Navy.

The indigenous development of this technology enables the nation to fabricate the devices at a relatively lower cost than the internationally-available foundries where the cost of fabrication is high and the number of foundries is also limited.

Further, the large area piezo thin films and MEMS process technology will support the ongoing/ futuristic technologies for the Next-Generation SONAR programme of DRDO for the Indian Navy.

Notably, globally several research groups and Defence laboratories in the U.S., Europe, Korea, Japan and China are involved in the development of technologies.

Internationally, several piezo MEMS foundries are making various piezo MEMS devices for both defence and civilian applications.

Currently, the piezo thin film-based piezoelectric device market is worth around US$ 5 billion US and is estimated to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12 % in the next 3 to 4 years.

About Piezoelectric MEMS technology

The ‘Piezoelectric MEMS technology’ is required to develop high-performance thin films and convert ‘piezo thin film’ into state-of-the-art futuristic Naval Sensors and devices for underwater applications. The Piezo Thin Films are one of the vital components of piezo MEMS devices and are considered for acoustics and vibration-sensing applications.

The indigenous development of Piezo MEMS technology connects the technology gaps leading to the development of piezo MEMS acoustic devices for underwater applications. Large dimension (100 mm dia) Piezoelectric thin films were fabricated by both RF sputtering and Sol-Gel technique with good uniformity and higher piezoelectric properties.