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17.08.2009



Sound waves push particles



14 August 2009



US scientists have used sound waves to manipulate particles into desired patterns on a microchip. They claim the technique, called acoustic tweezers, is particularly suitable for positioning samples for tissue engineering because it doesn't damage cells.











The interdigital transducers (yellow) emit surface acoustic waves that push particles into position




Tony Jun Huang and colleagues at the Pennsylvania State University, University Park, made the tweezers by placing two energy conversion devices called interdigital transducers (IDTs) on the outside of a microfluidic channel. They added a microparticle solution to the channel and then applied a radio frequency signal to the IDTs. The IDTs converted the signal into sound waves called surface acoustic waves (SAWs), which pushed the microparticles into precise patterns in the channel.


SAWs are very energy efficient, Huang explains - acoustic tweezers use 500000 times less power than optical tweezers, an existing patterning method. This makes them cheaper and also prevents damage to biological samples.



"This is a very interesting way of using acoustic waves"
- Michael Thompson, University of Toronto, Canada

The tweezers work on a variety of different cells and particles regardless of size, shape or charge, adds Huang. The team used them to pattern polystyrene beads, Escherichia coli and red blood cells.


'This is a very interesting way of using acoustic waves, as SAWs have not been used for this sort of application before,' states Michael Thompson, an acoustic wave expert at the University of Toronto, Canada.


Huang says future research will be focused in two directions. 'Firstly, we are going smaller by manipulating nano-objects, such as DNA, viruses and nanowires,' he comments. 'Secondly, we want to use our acoustic tweezers in biomedicine. We have already talked to cell biologists and they are very interested in this technology.'


Jane Hordern


 


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Link to journal article



Acoustic tweezers: patterning cells and microparticles using standing surface acoustic waves (SSAW)
Jinjie Shi, Daniel Ahmed, Xiaole Mao, Sz-Chin Steven Lin, Aitan Lawit and Tony Jun Huang, Lab Chip, 2009
DOI: 10.1039/b910595f


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  • Lichtenstain Alexandr Iosif  honorary member of ISSC science council

  • Novikov Dimirtii Leonid  honorary member of ISSC science council

  • Yakushev Mikhail Vasilii  honorary member of ISSC science council

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