Optimal acoustic radiation force devices

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering


This project concerns the modelling and experimental validation of new and improved acoustic radiation force devices. The main challenge is to understand what the optimal device would look like. By optimal we mean a device that is able to create an arbitrary force field. Furthermore it should do this as efficiently as possible, which could mean minimising the number of transducers and/or system complexity. These devices could be for mid-air ultrasonic haptics or microscale particle manipulation.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509619/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1939785 Studentship EP/N509619/1 18/09/2017 30/09/2021 Luke Cox
Description We have demonstrated the capabilities of switching between different sound fields to achieve things that a single sound field (as has previously been used) cannot.
We initial demonstrated this in air to levitate a much heaver non-spherical object without spinning than was previously possible and are currently looking at further applications of the field switching idea.

We have also demonstrated the usefulness of combining acoustic holograms which allow us to form arbitrary pressure fields with phased arrays (made of lots of individually controllable sources) to make the fields dynamically controllable too. The lens technology has shown promise in micro-manufacturing and so we hope this contribution will aid in this area.

We have made some theoretical process on the original frequency based ideas proposed, however due to experimental difficulties we have not been able to validates these yet.
Exploitation Route The non-spherical levitation has already demonstrated promise as a research tool for those in other fields hoping to use acoustic levitation as a contactless containment tool. We have already had interest in this idea and have communicated with other groups who hoped to build a device for use.

The use of acoustic holograms with phased arrays allows complex fields with more simple electronics and we hope it will be useful in micro-manufacturing of biological manipulation.
Sectors Chemicals,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7I5pdWk__18
Description Acoustic Hologram Enhanced Phased Arrays 
Organisation Max Planck Society
Department Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The use of ultrasonic phased arrays, including expertise on how to run them, bespoke electronics for continuous excitation and the arrays themselves for use.
Collaborator Contribution Expertise on acoustic holograms, including the manufacturing (in their facilities) and their practical use, as well as some experimental facilities.
Impact Publication of the paper "Acoustic Hologram Enhanced Phased Arrays for Ultrasonic Particle Manipulation"
Start Year 2019
Description Bristol Futures Science Fair 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Organised a stall at the 'Bristol Futures' events where demonstrations of the research in the lab was shown to school children during the day, then the general public in the evening events.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://www.bristol.ac.uk/public-engagement/engagement-opportunities/futures/
Description The Edge of Science Video 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Helped to build a levitator for the BBC Earth and YouTube collaboration show "The Edge of Science" which is now freely available on YouTube to watch.
It was intended to inform and entertain the general public about recent developments in science, with the tone and delivery method (YouTube) generally aimed at a younger audience.
It has now been viewed over 2 million times.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDyJkFehDk0