Ultrasonic levitation

Acoustic waves can levitate particles of a wide range of sizes and materials through air (Foresti et al PNAS 13), water and biological tissues. To date, the levitated particles had to be surrounded by acoustic elements (Foresti et. al PNAS 13, Seah et al 2014 (from Subramanian’s Lab at UOS), Ochi et al Siggraph 2014) as single-sided approaches only exerted lateral trapping forces or pulling forces (Zhang Nature 14, demore14). Further, translation and rotation of the trap was limited. The UOS Group is the first in the world to show (Marzo Perez et al. Nature Comms. 2015) full acoustic trapping, translation and rotation of levitated particles in real time using a single-sided array. Our approach creates optimum traps at arbitrary positions for any spatial arrangement of transducers and significantly enhances previous manipulators. We also introduce the concept of Holographic Acoustic Elements (HAEs) based on interpreting the phase modulations of the transducers as a continuous holographic surface that inherently comprises the encoding of identifiable acoustic elements. HAEs allow us to analyse and efficiently generate acoustic traps as well as to relate them to optical traps because the transducers in an array need not be considered individually. Both our individual transducer-based optimization and the holographic approach reach similar performance. However, it is this HAE interpretation that enables us to leverage microprocessors like TI-DMD to create highspeed hardware implementation of acoustic phase manipulations.

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