Wave number–spiral acoustic tweezers for dynamic and reconfigurable manipulation of particles and cells

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Science Advances  31 May 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 5, eaau6062
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau6062


Acoustic tweezers have recently raised great interest across many fields including biology, chemistry, engineering, and medicine, as they can perform contactless, label-free, biocompatible, and precise manipulation of particles and cells. Here, we present wave number–spiral acoustic tweezers, which are capable of dynamically reshaping surface acoustic wave (SAW) wavefields to various pressure distributions to facilitate dynamic and programmable particle/cell manipulation. SAWs propagating in multiple directions can be simultaneously and independently controlled by simply modulating the multitone excitation signals. This allows for dynamic reshaping of SAW wavefields to desired distributions, thus achieving programmable particle/cell manipulation. We experimentally demonstrated the multiple functions of wave number–spiral acoustic tweezers, among which are multiconfiguration patterning; parallel merging; pattern translation, transformation, and rotation; and dynamic translation of single microparticles along complex paths. This wave number–spiral design has the potential to revolutionize future acoustic tweezers development and advance many applications, including microscale assembly, bioprinting, and cell-cell interaction research.

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