Acoustowetting - Micro-Manufacturing with High-Frequency Sound Waves


Researchers from Australia's RMIT University have harnessed the power of sound waves to enable precision micro- and nano-manufacturing. The researchers have demonstrated how high-frequency sound waves can be used to precisely control the spread of thin-film fluid along a specially-designed chip. This video shows the behavior of a drop of fluorescent silicon oil when struck with high-frequency sound waves at 30 MHz. The new process is called acoustowetting and works on a chip made of lithium niobate - a piezoelectric material capable of converting electrical energy into mechanical pressure. The surface of the chip is covered with microelectrodes and the chip is connected to a power source, with the power converted to high-frequency sound waves. Thin-film liquid is added to the surface of the chip, and the sound waves are then used to control its flow. The research shows that when the liquid is ultra-thin - at nano and sub-micro depths - it flows away from the high-frequency sound waves.