Challenges and Opportunities for Multi-functional Oxide Thin Films for Voltage Tunable Radio-frequency/Microwave Components
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There has been significant progress on the fundamental science and technological applications of complex oxides and multiferroics. Among complex oxide thin films, barium strontium titanate (BST) has become the material of choice for room-temperature-based voltage-tunable dielectric thin films, due to its large dielectric tunability and low microwave loss at room temperature. BST thin film varactor technology based reconfigurable radio frequency (RF)/microwave components have been demonstrated with the potential to lower the size, weight, and power needs of a future generation of communication and radar systems. Low-power multiferroic devices have also been recently demonstrated. Strong magneto-electric coupling has also been demonstrated in different multiferroic heterostructures, which show giant voltage control of the ferromagnetic resonance frequency of more than two octaves. This manuscript reviews recent advances in the processing, and application development for the complex oxides and multiferroics, with the focus on voltage tunable RF/microwave components. The over-arching goal of this review is to provide a synopsis of the current state-of the-art of complex oxide and multiferroic thin film materials and devices, identify technical issues and technical challenges that need to be overcome for successful insertion of the technology for both military and commercial applications, and provide mitigation strategies to address these technical challenges.