Acoustically trapped colloidal crystals that are reconfigurable in real time

Caleap, M., & Drinkwater, B. W. (2014). Acoustically trapped colloidal crystals that are reconfigurable in real time. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(17), 6226–6230.


Photonic and phononic crystals are metamaterials with repeating unit cells that result in internal resonances leading to a range of wave guiding and filtering properties and are opening up new applications such as hyperlenses and superabsorbers. Here we show the first, to our knowledge, 3D colloidal phononic crystal that is reconfigurable in real time and demonstrate its ability to rapidly alter its frequency filtering characteristics. Our reconfigurable material is assembled from microspheres in aqueous solution, trapped with acoustic radiation forces. The acoustic radiation force is governed by an energy landscape, determined by an applied high-amplitude acoustic standing wave field, in which particles move swiftly to energy minima. This creates a colloidal crystal of several milliliters in volume with spheres arranged in an orthorhombic lattice in which the acoustic wavelength is used to control the lattice spacing. Transmission acoustic spectroscopy shows that the new colloidal crystal behaves as a phononic metamaterial and exhibits clear band-pass and band-stop frequencies which are adjusted in real time.

In the news–+ScienceDaily%29

And a more in-depth interview by Hamish Johnston from



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