This proposal seeks to develop a novel technique for fluid and particle manipulations, based upon exploiting the mechanical interactions between acoustic waves and phononic. The new platform involves generating surface acoustic waves (SAWs) on piezoelectric chips, but, unlike previous work, the ultrasonic waves are first coupled into a phononic lattice, which is placed in the path of the ultrasonic wave. The phononic lattice comprises a miniaturised array of mechanical elements which modulates the sound in a manner analogous to how light is “patterned” using a hologram. However, whilst in an optical hologram, the pattern is created by exploiting the differences in refractive indices of the elements of the structure, here the ultrasonic field is modulated both by the elastic contrast between the elements in the array, as well as by the dimensions of the array and its surrounding matrix (including the size and pitch of the features within the array). The result of passing the acoustic wave through a phononic crystal is the formation of new and complex ultrasonic landscapes.
As part of the proposed work we aim to understand the physics of this technology and to exploit its development in a range of medical devices. We will show that by using phononic crystals it is possible to create highly controllable patterns of acoustic field intensities, which propagate into the fluid, creating pressure differences that result in unique flow patterns to enable a new platform for including biological sample processing, medical diagnostics, drug delivery and blood clotting devices – all on low cost disposable devices. Different frequencies of ultrasound will interact with different phononic structures to give different functions, providing a toolbox of different functions. Just as in electronics, where discrete components are combined to create circuits, so we propose to combine different phononic lattices to create fluidic microcircuits with important new applications.
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