- Lead zirconate titanate (PZT) is well known to exhibit some of the strongest piezoelectric responses, explaining why it is at the heart of piezoelectric-based microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) research. The use of pulsed laser deposition (PLD) to synthesize PZT offers many advantages over alternative deposition techniques, mainly regarding its ability to maintain target to film stoichiometry, as well as in-situ crystallization of the deposited film. Pb(Zr₀.₅₂Ti₀.₄₈)O₃ was deposited onto platinized silicon substrates via PLD. PZT on platinized silicon was selected as a baseline for the thin film deposition optimization process due to the vast amount of work done in the research community regarding this system. As such, there is abundant data available for trend comparison. Θ-2Θ x-ray diffraction scans verified the crystal structure of the films as phase-pure (00l) PZT when deposited using a 30 mol% excess lead target, while film thicknesses were measured using variable angle spectroscopic ellipsometry (VASE). Electrical characterization revealed high-quality ferroelectric films, remanent polarization ~ 30 μC/cm², dielectric loss ~ 1%, and dielectric constants up to 1370. Once the baseline for PZT deposition using PLD had been established, the potential to apply the same principles and methodologies to a more novel system was explored. Ion beam-assisted deposition (IBAD)-MgO offers a low-cost, flexible substrate that has a similar crystal
lattice to that of PZT, thus it can be used for epitaxial growth. However, the IBAD substrate requires the deposition of a conductive bottom electrode, the lattice structure of which must also match the underlying MgO and overlying PZT. LaNiO₃ (LNO) is often used as a bottom electrode in such systems, as it fulfills the aforementioned requirements. PZT/LNO/IBAD-MgO films were deposited, with in-plane orientation being measured via x-ray diffraction ø scans. Future work will focus on optimizing the epitaxial nature, as well as improving the ferroelectric responses of these films on IBAD substrates.