Numerical study of acoustophoretic manipulation of particles in microfluidic channels

Jun Ma, Dongfang Liang, Xin Yang, Hanlin Wang, Fangda Wu, Chao Sun, Yang Xiao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The microfluidic technology based on surface acoustic waves (SAW) has been developing rapidly, as it can precisely manipulate fluid flow and particle motion at microscales. We hereby present a numerical study of the transient motion of suspended particles in a microchannel. In conventional studies, only the microchannel’s bottom surface generates SAW and only the final positions of the particles are analyzed. In our study, the microchannel is sandwiched by two identical SAW transducers at both the bottom and top surfaces while the channel’s sidewalls are made of poly-dimethylsiloxane (PDMS). Based on the perturbation theory, the suspended particles are subject to two types of forces, namely the Acoustic Radiation Force (ARF) and the Stokes Drag Force (SDF), which correspond to the first-order acoustic field and the second-order streaming field, respectively. We use the Finite Element Method (FEM) to compute the fluid responses and particle trajectories. Our numerical model is shown to be accurate by verifying against previous experimental and numerical results. We have determined the threshold particle size that divides the SDF-dominated regime and the ARF-dominated regime. By examining the time scale of the particle movement, we provide guidelines on the device design and operation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1163-1174
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • acoustic radiation force
  • acoustofluidics
  • Microfluidics
  • stokes drag force
  • surface acoustic waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering

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