Sound wave activated nano-sieve (SWANS) for enrichment of nanoparticles†
Acoustic actuation is widely used in microfluidic systems as a method of controlling the behaviour of suspended matter. When acoustic waves impinge on particles, a radiation force is exerted which can cause migration over multiple acoustic time periods; in addition the scattering of the wave by the particle will affect the behaviour of nearby particles. This interparticle effect, or Bjerknes force, tends to attract particles together. Here, instead of manipulating a dilute sample of particles, we examine the acoustic excitation of a packed bed. We fill a microfluidic channel with microparticles, such that they form a closely packed structure and then excite them at the particle's resonant frequency. In this scenario, each particle acts as a source of scattered waves and we show that these waves are highly effective at attracting nanoparticles onto the surface of the microparticles, and nanoparticle collection characterises the performance of this mechanically activated packed bed.