Modeling of an acoustically actuated artificial micro-swimmer

Jinan Liu, Haihui Ruan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Some recent achievements in microfabrication have demonstrated ultrasound-actuated artificial micro-swimmers for medical applications. However, the theoretical model of actuation and swimming is still lacking. Here we report a theoretical study of an acoustically actuated sperm-like artificial micro-swimmer which consists of a rigid head and a flexible flagellum. We provide the quantitative relation between head oscillation amplitude and acoustic pressure and frequency, and the theoretical account of how the flagellum is whipped, which brings about propulsion. The resistive force theory is employed in our model to relate the dynamic response of a flagellum and the motility of the swimmer. In order to make our theoretical model applicable in a realistic design of sperm-like micro-swimmer, we have involved the inertia term and material damping in the governing equation and considered the variable cross-section of a flagellum. The numerical results reveal that the micro-swimmer actuated by ultrasound can achieve a perceptible velocity, especially at resonance. Influences of non-dimensional parameters, such as the resonance index, sperm number, and material damping coefficient, are discussed and a comparison with experimental results demonstrates the validity of the proposed model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number036002
JournalBioinspiration and Biomimetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • acoustic actuation
  • artificial micro-swimmer
  • flagellum
  • propulsion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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