Acoustohydrodynamic tweezers via spatial arrangement of streaming vortices

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Science Advances  06 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 2, eabc7885
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc7885


Acoustics-based tweezers provide a unique toolset for contactless, label-free, and precise manipulation of bioparticles and bioanalytes. Most acoustic tweezers rely on acoustic radiation forces; however, the accompanying acoustic streaming often generates unpredictable effects due to its nonlinear nature and high sensitivity to the three-dimensional boundary conditions. Here, we demonstrate acoustohydrodynamic tweezers, which generate stable, symmetric pairs of vortices to create hydrodynamic traps for object manipulation. These stable vortices enable predictable control of a flow field, which translates into controlled motion of droplets or particles on the operating surface. We built a programmable droplet-handling platform to demonstrate the basic functions of planar-omnidirectional droplet transport, merging droplets, and in situ mixing via a sequential cascade of biochemical reactions. Our acoustohydrodynamic tweezers enables improved control of acoustic streaming and demonstrates a previously unidentified method for contact-free manipulation of bioanalytes and digitalized liquid handling based on a compact and scalable functional unit.

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