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J Acoust Soc Am. 2012 Feb;131(2):1029-38. doi: 10.1121/1.3672700.

Contactless transport of matter in the first five resonance modes of a line-focused acoustic manipulator.

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Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, Institute of Energy Technology, Laboratory of Thermodynamics in Emerging Technologies, ETH Zurich, CH-8092, Zurich, Switzerland.


The first five resonance modes for transport of matter in a line-focused acoustic levitation system are investigated. Contactless transport was achieved by varying the height between the radiating plate and the reflector. Transport and levitation of droplets in particular involve two limits of the acoustic forces. The lower limit corresponds to the minimum force required to overcome the gravitational force. The upper limit corresponds to the maximum acoustic pressure beyond which atomization of the droplet occurs. As the droplet size increases, the lower limit increases and the upper limit decreases. Therefore to have large droplets levitated, relatively flat radiation pressure amplitude during the translation is needed. In this study, using a finite element model, the Gor'kov potential was calculated for different heights between the reflector and the radiating plate. The application of the Gor'kov potential was extended to study the range of droplet sizes for which the droplets can be levitated and transported without atomization. It was found that the third resonant mode (H(3)-mode) represents the best compromise between high levitation force and smooth pattern transition, and water droplets of millimeter radius can be levitated and transported. The H(3)-mode also allows for three translation lines in parallel.


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