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A pi-shaped ultrasonic tweezers concept for manipulation of small particles.

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  • 1School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. ejhhu@ntu.edu.sg


A pi-shaped ultrasonic actuator is proposed for the noncontact trapping, extraction, and transportation of small particles. In this actuator, two metal plates clamp a multilayer piezoelectric vibrator by a small bolt, and the metal plates are tapered in their lower parts so that a vibration gradient can be obtained. The flexural vibration of the metal plates is used to generate a sound field in the gap between the two tapered metal plates. At a driving frequency of about 152.8 kHz, shrimp eggs, grass seeds, thyme seeds, rice powder, fine salt, and fine sugar, which have an average diameter from several tens of micrometers to several hundreds of micrometers, can be trapped stably without contact with the actuator, and the particles insoluble in water can be extracted from water and transported in water by the actuator. In the noncontact trapping of small particles, the positions of trapped particles as well as the relationship among the number of trapped particles, vibration velocity, and input power are investigated. The number of trapped particles increases as the vibration velocity or input power increases. However, when the vibration velocity or input power is too large, the particles may be ejected out of the actuator and, therefore, cannot be stably trapped. The minimum vibration velocity to trap small particles increases as particle density increases for the particles that have the shape near to a sphere and a proper density. In the extraction of small particles from water, the relationship between the number of extracted thyme seeds and the input power is investigated. Increasing the input power can increase the extracted thyme seeds. However, there is a maximum particle number that can be extracted from water. In the transportation of thyme seeds in water, the dependence of the particle loss during the transportation on the speed and distance of transportation and the input power is experimentally estimated. As the distance and speed of transportation increase, the particle loss during the transportation increases. Increasing the input power increases the trapping effect and, therefore, decreases the particle loss.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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