Webinar – Ultrasonic manipulation and its application across the length scales by Prof. Bruce Drinkwater, University of Bristol
Ultrasonic particle manipulation can be thought of as non-contacting robotic hands capable of moving and assembly objects. It is applicable across a very wide range of length scales and to date has been demonstrated from the micrometre level required for objects such as cells to the millimetre/centimetre scale required to manipulate small components. However, the physical principles extend both below and above this range. It is an enabling technology – not only can it improve and complement existing manipulation technologies, but it also enables completely new manipulation and manufacturing applications. Micro-scale lab-on-a-chip devices can be used to sort cells based on size, density or compressibility. Using higher intensities, similar devices can deform micro-scale objects such as cells to assess their mechanical properties. Larger devices can be used to hold millimetre-scale samples in place for assembly operations and sample analysis. Successful manipulation is achieved by creating a convergent force field on the object using an array of ultrasonic sources or a phase plate. Using holographic design approaches, the array outputs are controlled, leading to control of the force field. Examples will be shown in which high performance devices capable of many independent operations can be manufactured at relatively low cost using readily available components. Hence the talk will describe the emergence of a new and versatile manipulation technology that is contributing to new applications in the physical and biological sciences.
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