Dynamic patterning of microparticles with acoustic impulse control

Cox, L., Croxford, A., & Drinkwater, B. W. (2022). Dynamic patterning of microparticles with acoustic impulse control. Scientific Reports, 12(1).

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-18554-5

Abstract

This paper describes the use of impulse control of an acoustic field to create complex and precise particle patterns and then dynamically manipulate them. We first demonstrate that the motion of a particle in an acoustic field depends on the applied impulse and three distinct regimes can be identified. The high impulse regime is the well established mode where particles travel to the force minima of an applied continuous acoustic field. In contrast acoustic field switching in the low impulse regime results in a force field experienced by the particle equal to the time weighted average of the constituent force fields. We demonstrate via simulation and experiment that operating in the low impulse regime facilitates an intuitive and modular route to forming complex patterns of particles. The intermediate impulse regime is shown to enable more localised manipulation of particles. In addition to patterning, we demonstrate a set of impulse control tools to clear away undesired particles to further increase the contrast of the pattern against background. We combine these tools to create high contrast patterns as well as moving and re-configuring them. These techniques have applications in areas such as tissue engineering where they will enable complex, high fidelity cell patterns.

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