Experimental and numerical studies on standing surface acoustic wave microfluidics†
Standing surface acoustic waves (SSAW) are commonly used in microfluidics to manipulate cells and other micro/nano particles. However, except for a simple one-dimensional (1D) harmonic standing waves (HSW) model, a practical model that can predict particle behaviour in SSAW microfluidics is still lacking. Herein, we established a two-dimensional (2D) SSAW microfluidic model based on the basic theory in acoustophoresis and our previous modelling strategy to predict the acoustophoresis of microparticles in SSAW microfluidics. This 2D SSAW microfluidic model considers the effects of boundary vibrations, channel materials, and channel dimensions on the acoustic propagation; as an experimental validation, the acoustophoresis of microparticles under continuous flow through narrow channels made of PDMS and silicon was studied. The experimentally observed motion of the microparticles matched well with the numerical predictions, while the 1D HSW model failed to predict many of the experimental observations. Particularly, the 1D HSW model cannot account for particle aggregation on the sidewall in PDMS channels, which is well explained by our 2D SSAW microfluidic model. Our model can be used for device design and optimization in SSAW microfluidics.