Phase separation of a nonionic surfactant aqueous solution in a standing surface acoustic wave for submicron particle manipulation†
Acoustic manipulation of submicron particles in a controlled manner has been challenging to date because of the increased contribution of acoustic streaming, which leads to fluid mixing and homogenization. This article describes the patterning of submicron particles and the migration of their patterned locations from pressure nodes to antinodes in a non-ionic surfactant (Tween 20) aqueous solution in a conventional standing surface acoustic wave field with a wavelength of 150 μm. Phase separation of the aqueous surfactant solution occurs when they are exposed to acoustic waves, probably due to the “clouding behavior” of non-ionic surfactant. The generated surfactant precipitates are pushed to the pressure antinodes due to the negative acoustic contrast factor relative to water. Compared with the mixing appearance in pure water media, the patterning behavior of submicron particles with a diameter of 300 nm dominated by acoustic radiation force is readily apparent in an aqueous solution with 2% volumetric concentration of Tween 20 surfactant, thanks to the suppression effect of acoustic streaming in inhomogeneous fluids. These submicron particles are first pushed to acoustic pressure nodes and then are migrated to antinodes where the surfactant precipitates stay. More attractively, the migration of acoustically patterned locations is not only limited to submicron particles, but also occurs to micrometer-sized particles in solutions with higher surfactant concentrations. These findings open up a novel avenue for controllable acoustic manipulation.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Lab on a Chip Recent HOT Articles