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Sci Adv. 2018 Aug 31;4(8):eaat1659. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aat1659. eCollection 2018 Aug.

Acoustophoretic printing.

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John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
Laboratory of Thermodynamics in Emerging Technologies, Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, ETH Zurich, Sonneggstrasse 3, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland.


Droplet-based printing methods are widely used in applications ranging from biological microarrays to additive manufacturing. However, common approaches, such as inkjet or electrohydrodynamic printing, are well suited only for materials with low viscosity or specific electromagnetic properties, respectively. While in-air acoustophoretic forces are material-independent, they are typically weak and have yet to be harnessed for printing materials. We introduce an acoustophoretic printing method that enables drop-on-demand patterning of a broad range of soft materials, including Newtonian fluids, whose viscosities span more than four orders of magnitude (0.5 to 25,000 mPa·s) and yield stress fluids (τ0 > 50 Pa). By exploiting the acoustic properties of a subwavelength Fabry-Perot resonator, we have generated an accurate, highly localized acoustophoretic force that can exceed the gravitational force by two orders of magnitude to eject microliter-to-nanoliter volume droplets. The versatility of acoustophoretic printing is demonstrated by patterning food, optical resins, liquid metals, and cell-laden biological matrices in desired motifs.

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