Dynamics of levitated objects in acoustic vortex fields

Hong, Z. Y., Yin, J. F., Zhai, W., Yan, N., Wang, W. L., Zhang, J., & Drinkwater, B. W. (2017). Dynamics of levitated objects in acoustic vortex fields. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 7093.



Acoustic levitation in gaseous media provides a tool to process solid and liquid materials without the presence of surfaces such as container walls and hence has been used widely in chemical analysis, high-temperature processing, drop dynamics and bioreactors. To date high-density objects can only be acoustically levitated in simple standing-wave fields. Here we demonstrate the ability of a small number of peripherally placed sources to generate acoustic vortex fields and stably levitate a wide range of liquid and solid objects. The forces exerted by these acoustic vortex fields on a levitated water droplet are observed to cause a controllable deformation of the droplet and/or oscillation along the vortex axis. Orbital angular momentum transfer is also shown to rotate a levitated object rapidly and the rate of rotation can be controlled by the source amplitude. We expect this research can increase the diversity of acoustic levitation and expand the application of acoustic vortices.

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