Capillary wave tweezer

Bethany Orme, Hamdi Torun, Matthew Unthank, Yongqing (Richard) Fu, Bethan Ford, Prashant Agrawal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Precise control of microparticle movement is crucial in high throughput processing for various applications in scalable manufacturing, such as particle monolayer assembly and 3D bio-printing. Current techniques using acoustic, electrical and optical methods offer precise manipulation advantages, but their scalability is restricted due to issues such as, high input powers and complex fabrication and operation processes. In this work, we introduce the concept of capillary wave tweezers, where mm-scale capillary wave fields are dynamically manipulated to control the position of microparticles in a liquid volume. Capillary waves are generated in an open liquid volume using low frequency vibrations (in the range of 10-100 Hz) to trap particles underneath the nodes of the capillary waves. By shifting the displacement nodes of the waves, the trapped particles are precisely displaced. Using analytical and numerical models, we identify conditions under which a stable control over particle motion is achieved. By showcasing the ability to dynamically control the movement of microparticles, our concept offers a simple and high throughput method to manipulate particles in open systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12448
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2024

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