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 has the potential to enable novel studies due to its ability to hold a wide variety of substances against gravity under container-less conditions. It has found application in spectroscopy, chemistry, and the study of organisms in microgravity. Current levitators are constructed using Langevin horns that need to be manufactured to high tolerance with carefully matched resonant frequencies. This resonance condition is hard to maintain as their temperature changes due to transduction heating. In addition, Langevin horns are required to operate at high voltages (>100 V) which may cause problems in challenging experimental environments. Here, we design, build, and evaluate a single-axis levitator based on multiple, low-voltage (ca. 20 V), well-matched, and commercially available ultrasonic transducers. The levitator operates at 40 kHz in air and can trap objects above 2.2 g/cm3 density and 4 mm in diameter whilst consuming 10 W of input power. Levitation of water, fused-silica spheres, small insects, and electronic components is demonstrated. The device is constructed from low-cost off-the-shelf components and is easily assembled using 3D printed sections. Complete instructions and a part list are provided on how to assemble the levitator.
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