SAW Wafer Cut Angle Study



SAW performance is heavily influenced by both the choice of substrate material and the choice of cut angle. OnScale enables designers to explore many non standard cut angles offering better control over RF performance and thermal stability.

Here we show a simple unit cell model to analyse the effect of cut angle on the electrical performance of two common SAW wafer materials; Lithium Niobate (LiNbO3) and Lithium Tantalate (LiTaO3).

Cut Orientation

Here we simulate the commonly utilized Y-cut of LiNbO3/LiTaO3. The direction of SAW propagation is in the X direction, and the cut will be rotated around the Y axis to modify device behaviour (beta rotation in Euler angles).

Model Setup

A simple unit cell model was used to provide a rapid assessment of potential performance. This model is described in full here.

Model setup was as follows:



Default Value


 Thickness of substrate

 7.5 µm


 Thickness of electrode

 200 nm


 SAW finger pitch

 1.3 µm


 Metalization ratio



 Number of finger pairs



 Finger length

 50 µm


 Simulation length in cycles



 Centre frequency

 1.5 GHz

The design variable was the Y-cut angle in degrees. The orientation angle was swept from 0 to 180 degrees in 1 degree steps, for a total of 181 simulations. These were run in parallel.

LiNbO3 Results

Impedance results for the LiNbO3 sweep are as follows.


LiNbO3 Impedance Results

A top down view of this plot provides a clear illustration of the main modes of propagation.


LiNbO3 Impedance Results – Annotated

Non leaky and leaky SAW modes are clearly visible. The commonly used 128 degree Y-cut is highlighted.

LiTaO3 Results

Impedance results for the LiTaO3 sweep are as follows.


As with the previous results both non leaky and leaky SAW modes are clearly visible.

Simulation Statistics

 Model size

 1026 elements

 Solve Time

 486 secs (2 CPUS)

 Number of Simulations


 Total Core Hours


Memory Usage

 48 MB